Movie Review: The Secret Life of BeesPublished by Clay Cane on Friday, October 17, 2008 at 12:00 am.
Summary: Based on the novel of the same name, a young girl is haunted by the death of her mother. She flees the home of her abusive father, along with her caretaker and friend, to three African-American sisters who have made a living for themselves in beekeeping.
Review: “The Secret Life of Bees” is a movie I feel like I should love with no exceptions. While it’s a good film, there is an ingredient that is missing in the beekeeping tale. The film’s major flaw is that it needed more edgy, it was too sappy. This is a horrific time for African-American women in the South, yet with the exception of very few scenes, the violence and horror of racism is washed over with folklore and bees. “The Secret Life of Bees” needed more of a punch to have the full emotional impact. While everyone is likable, there is no one you are truly routing for and within the first five minutes you know the film will end with a nice, tight bow—and it does.
Dakota Fanning knows how to hold her own in any film and even next to three Oscar nominees and one Oscar winner, Fanning is the most powerful. She aches through the movie and probably the only raw energy that exists in the script.
Jennifer Hudson appropriately shines in her first movie since “Sex and the City.” However, half way through it seems her character is forgotten. Sophie Okonedo is always stellar but her character was almost too emotional for a movie that was so sugary. Alicia Keys was solid as the sister who did not want to marry but still wanted to be loved. Surprisingly, Queen Latifah did not shine like one expected. Her southern accent was atrocious and often times she came across like the stereotypical mammy character.
Overall, “The Secret Life of Bees” has good intent, but is not a movie that will stand the test of time. Yes, it’s almost too sweet, but with enduring enough performances to make it a solid movie.
“The Secret Life of Bees” is in theatres today.