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The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  17 October 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 18,183 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 54 user | 108 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

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)
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12 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Renee Ford Clark ...
Doll (as Renée Clark)
Violet (as Sharon Morris)
Sugar Girl
Emma Sage Bowman ...


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:

$10,527,799 (USA) (17 October 2008)


$37,766,350 (USA) (20 February 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(director's cut) |

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo)|


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Alicia Keys learned to play the cello in 4 weeks for this part. See more »


When Lily and Rosaleen are drinking their Cokes on the grass outside the Boatwright house, you see Rosaleen drink the last of the soda, but you can clearly hear the liquid flowing back into the bottle. See more »


Lily Owens: [to T. Ray] My whole life has been nothing but a hole, where my mother should have been. It always left me aching, but I never thought about what it did to you.
See more »


Featured in The 14th Annual Critics' Choice Awards (2009) See more »


Sonata No. 3 In A Minor For Cello & Continuo: Allegro
Written by Antonio Vivaldi
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Open your heart and the Bees will fill it with honey
31 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I don't go around throwing 10's around for movie ratings, but I extremely impressed by this movie. The emotional and visual scope offered by the story, the cinematography, and the acting, gave all viewers with eyes to see and ears to hear, a wonderful treat. I'm sure not everyone loves this particular type of movie, but if you haven't been desensitized by the CGI and special effects of many of today's movies, you'll appreciate the very core of this movie, which is the human struggle - especially the depiction of the search for identity, and the need to give and received compassion from those living on this big blue marble together with us. A reminder of the racism of a not too far distant time, and the timeless theme of love, death, friendship, and compassion, add the effective seasoning that helps us all relate in some very tangible way to this movie. Enjoy it with someone you care about, and taste the honey.

38 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Unnecessary Sexual Sugestion with the Purple Honey sartor023
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closest book to movie adaptation i have ever seen KrystalYoung6
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