In 1964, a teenage girl in search of the truth about her mother runs away to a small town in South Carolina and finds a family of independent women who can connect her to her past.

Writers:

Gina Prince-Bythewood (screenplay), Sue Monk Kidd (novel)
11 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Dakota Fanning ... Lily Owens
Queen Latifah ... August Boatwright
Jennifer Hudson ... Rosaleen Daise
Alicia Keys ... June Boatwright
Sophie Okonedo ... May Boatwright
Paul Bettany ... T. Ray Owens
Hilarie Burton ... Deborah Owens
Tristan Mack Wilds ... Zach Taylor (as Tristan Wilds)
Nate Parker ... Neil
Shondrella Avery ... Greta
Renee Ford Clark Renee Ford Clark ... Doll (as Renée Clark)
Sharon Conley ... Violet (as Sharon Morris)
Nicky Buggs ... Cressie
Jasmine Burke ... Sugar Girl
Emma Sage Bowman Emma Sage Bowman ... Young Lily
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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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Rosaleen Daise: I know you can't understand. Apologizing to those men would have just been a different way of dying. Except I had to live with it
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Alternate Versions

Home video versions (DVD and Blu-ray) include both the original theatrical version and the extended director's cut of 114 minutes. See more »

Connections

References Surf Party (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh! Susanna
Music by Stephen Foster (uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Welcome to the family!
18 October 2008 | by reelinspirationSee 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


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 October 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Secret Life of Bees See more »

Filming Locations:

Watha, North Carolina, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,527,799, 19 October 2008

Gross USA:

$37,770,162

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,952,437
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut) |

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby (as Dolby Stereo)| SDDS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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