57 user 106 critic

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

PG-13 | | Drama | 17 October 2008 (USA)
2:38 | Trailer

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Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with ... See full summary »


(screenplay), (novel)
12 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Deborah Owens
Zach Taylor (as Tristan Wilds)
Renee Ford Clark ...
Doll (as Renée Clark)
Violet (as Sharon Morris)
Sugar Girl
Emma Sage Bowman ...
Young Lily


Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father T-Ray, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Bring Your Girlfriends, Sisters, Mothers and Daughters



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Secreta das Abelhas  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,527,799, 17 October 2008, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$37,766,350, 22 February 2009

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,947,322, 27 May 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(director's cut) |

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo)|


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Early on in the film Lily is telling Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) about a dream she had, which involved the Supremes. Years earlier Hudson starred in Dreamgirls (2006) which is heavily based upon the career of the Supremes. Both films are also set in the early 60's. See more »


When Lily and Zach are kissing, Lily's hair keeps moving back and forth from behind her ear to the side of her face depending on the camera angle. See more »


June Boatwright: Aw damn it to hell!
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Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Anne Hathaway/The Killers (2008) See more »


(Also called "Break-a-Way")
Written by Jackie DeShannon, and Sharon Sheeley (as Shari Sheeley)
Performed by Irma Thomas
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Very nice, pleasant movie
6 November 2008 | by See all my reviews

I surprisingly enjoyed the movie more than I thought and would give it a solid 7. It was well scripted, the filming was fantastic, and the acting was good - it was a very pleasant movie. I read the book, so I knew what the plot was about, so no surprises there (although I wish it included one detail that was in the book about the shooting). There was nothing truly spectacular or exciting to give it an 8 (but nothing truly spectacular happens in the book either, so the movie couldn't really change that), but nothing terrible/poor script/poor acting, which you usually find a bit of in a 6 or 6.5 stars. I saw it in the theater and it was the perfect "girls night out" movie. Also good for mother/daughter. Otherwise, wouldn't pay $10 to see it. It would be a great rental - see once and return.

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