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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 18,190 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 »


The story takes place in 1964. Throughout the story, June wears a silk-screen NAACP t-shirt. Silk-screened t-shirts did not exist until the issuance of a patent for the garment screen printing machine in 1969. See more »


Lily Owens: You think something being an impossibility makes you think about it even more?
May Boatwright: Like what?
Lily Owens: I don't know. Like... kissin'.
May Boatwright: That ain't impossible. When I was 15, I made a 7UP cake for this boy. After that, he kissed me all the time.
Lily Owens: What'd it feel like?
May Boatwright: Like I was gonna burst.
Lily Owens: Miss May, I know you get real sad sometimes. My daddy never feels. He never felt anything. I had rather be like you.
May Boatwright: A worker bee weigh less than a flower petal, but she can fly with a load heavier than her. But she only ...
See more »


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


Amazing Grace
Written by John Newton (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

wonderful movie
18 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm not sure why this film got such a bad rating....it's truly one of the nicest films I've seen in a long time! I brought my daughter to see the movie today -- we both had tears in our eyes throughout the movie. The acting was superb, as was the casting. Normally I like to read the book before seeing a movie, as usually the book is so much better. I am glad that my daughter talked me into going to this movie. I think cinematically, it was one of the prettiest movies I've seen in awhile. You are taken from laughing one moment to feeling as though your heart is being tugged out of your body in the next moment. I will definitely be recommending this film to my friends!

69 of 84 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Unnecessary Sexual Sugestion with the Purple Honey sartor023
Did anyone else love May Boatwright? reminiscent00
Seriously? No love for T Ray? JBMovies123
what was the stuff that her father made her kneal on? livielu
Dakota's first on screen kiss hal_111091
closest book to movie adaptation i have ever seen KrystalYoung6
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