7.3/10
21,697
57 user 106 critic

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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 »

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews
Popularity
2,545 ( 2,505)
12 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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

Taglines:

Bring Your Girlfriends, Sisters, Mothers and Daughters

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida Secreta das Abelhas  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$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

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(director's cut) |

Sound Mix:

| (as Dolby Stereo)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

References Surf Party (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Song For Mia
(2007)
Written by Lizz Wright and Toshi Reagon
Performed by Lizz Wright
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Welcome to the family!
18 October 2008 | by See all my reviews

Writer/Director Gina Prince-Bythewood, winner of the Independent Spirit Award for Sundance hit, "Love & Basketball," has now brought the beloved, acclaimed best-seller, "The Secret Life of Bees" to the screen.

1964, South Carolina. Lily Owens (played with open-eyed honestly by Dakota Fanning) is raised in a loveless home by her cruel, distant father. Fourteen year old Lily longs for a mother she never knew. When her only friend, their black maid Rosaleen, is assaulted in a racist incident, the girls are forced to go on the run.

Lily and Rosaleen end up on the doorstep of the Boatwrights, the black sisters who own a successful honey farm. Lily concocts an elaborate lie to persuade the maternal August Boatwright (played with warm dignity by Queen Latifah) to temporarily take them in. They are met with some resistance from the guarded June (Alicia Keys), a classical cellist and civil rights activist. But they are welcomed enthusiastically by the open-hearted May (played with touching vulnerability by Sophie Okonedo). They soon find that hyper-sensitive May is moved to tears by the mention of anything sad.

August teaches Lily how to tend the bees, and May whole heartedly embraces both girls. They are soon accepted as part of the family. But Lily still needs to find the truth of why her mother left her.

This is a coming of age story and parable about how to cope with the painful truth and find forgiveness. As Lily's young love interest puts it, "It's not just about the truth. It's about what you do with it." The two sisters illustrate different ways to deal with the hard truths of life. June has closed her heart and built a protective wall to keep out hurtful emotions. While May has completely opened her heart and feels everyone's pain. Her heart is open to joy but it is also an open wound.

I loved being in this world and a part of this loving family - so much that I stayed for a second screening. This is due in part to Gina Prince-Bythewood's excellent adaptation and the wonderful acting of Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, and especially Sophie Okonedo - who is literally the heart of the film.

If you're looking for a sweet way to spend the afternoon, "The Secret Life of Bees" will supply the honey.

Movie blessings! Jana Segal reel inspiration dot blogspot dot com


56 of 65 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 57 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial