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Bee Season (2005)



Average Rating: 5.5/10
Reviews Counted: 105
Fresh: 45 | Rotten: 60

Bee Season is an intelligent, but frustratingly distant and diffuse drama about family dysfunction.


Average Rating: 5.1/10
Critic Reviews: 36
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 22

Bee Season is an intelligent, but frustratingly distant and diffuse drama about family dysfunction.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 12,395

My Rating

Movie Info

Adapted from the novel by Myla Goldberg, Bee Season tells the story of a family whose turmoil is brought to the surface by a young girl's unexpected talent. Eleven-year-old Eliza (Flora Cross) is the invisible element of her family unit -- her mother and father (played by Juliette Binoche and Richard Gere) are both consumed with work and busy avoiding their faltering marriage. Her brother, praised for musical genius, is wrapped up in his own adolescent life. Eliza ignites not only a spark that




Apr 4, 2006


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All Critics (117) | Top Critics (39) | Fresh (45) | Rotten (60) | DVD (13)

[A] pretentious family-in-crisis drama ...

November 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fine directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End) take a detour into mumbo jumbo.

November 22, 2005
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's no shortage of material on the screen in Bee Season -- it's just not assembled in a satisfying manner.

November 22, 2005 Full Review Source: ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bee Season is earnest and heartfelt and respectful. And a botch.

November 22, 2005 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Co-directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, whose visual schemes lent a hypnotic aura to their previous collaborations ... don't find the right balance of story and image this time.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's more thoughtfully conceived than most of what passes for filmmaking these days.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Words and letters may hold all the secrets of the universe, but 104 minutes wasn't enough to hold and resolve all the secrets and mysteries of Bee Season.

September 8, 2006
Christianity Today

Perhaps the film's disparate subplots are given due attention in the book, but it all feels unfocused and jammed together here.

February 21, 2006 Full Review
Denton Record Chronicle (TX)

A well-told, enjoyable and insightful film, but its not necessarily as revelatory as its makers seem to think.

February 4, 2006 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

Os dez minutos finais de projeção parecem pertencer a um outro filme. Bem ruim, por sinal.

December 22, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Something like a dream Madonna might've had while she nodded off during Spellbound...

December 8, 2005
Philadelphia Weekly

We're knee-deep in tastefully presented balderdash.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

This is second-rate Hallström, drama plus whimsy that, when rubbed together, creates not friction and fire, but a nubbing-down of both elements.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A visual feast, but a spiritual famine.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source:

...sneaks up on you starting as a family drama and tells that story in the guise of a religious thriller.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Entertainment Insiders
Entertainment Insiders

A tiresome piece of claptrap masquerading as family drama.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan
San Diego Metropolitan

This aloof, often cold drama may be too cerebral for its own good, as it fails to explain some of its more mystical elements.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The premise is intriguing, but the oddly toned screenplay is a mostly opaque and convoluted string of dramatically convenient yet inconsistent assumptions.

December 6, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Here's an unusual but sweet little drama about a dysfunctional family.

December 2, 2005 Full Review
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

Family dysfunctions, spellings bees, spiritual enlightenment--Bee Season definitely has an odd lot of things going on. But this family drama somehow draws you into its weird little realm and holds you there.

December 1, 2005 Full Review Source:

Very worth 'going with' for both the things it has to say and the bold ways in which it says them.

December 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

For the sake of variety, we need more spirituality in the movies, which is why the very existence of Bee Season is a blessing even if its haphazardness makes it something of a curse.

November 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

fragmented, a film with several provocative ideas and a few strong scenes but no sense of fulfillment and considerably less emotional impact than it should have.

November 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Intriguingly, it can be viewed as a thrill-less update of a Val Lewton thriller... It asks the viewer to decide whether its characters are crazy, cursed or blessed as they encourage the incursion of the supernatural into their lives.

November 28, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

McGehee and Siegel have never met a mundane event they couldn't turn into an epiphany.

November 25, 2005 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Audience Reviews for Bee Season

Imagine growing up in a family of academics, musicians, and Jewish mystics. When 12-year-old Eliza (Flora Cross) wins both the district and regional spelling bees, her father, Saul (Richard GereJewish mysticism, begins to tutor her daily. Not only is he preparing her for the state spelling bee competition, but Saul is also training his daughter to be the mystic he wasn't able to become. Bee Season is not only a movie about meditation, but it is also itself a meditation. This family is consumed with finding God, but they all look outside of the family to find it, and in the process, the family falls apart. Eliza's older brother Aaron (Max Minghella) is so jealous that his sister is getting all of the family's attention that he goes off and joins a Buddhist cult, and everyone in the family is so focused on their own problems that no one notices the mother (Juliette Binoche) going slowly insane! Bee Season is transcendent and thought-provoking, and it even makes me want to go out and look for God. 3 Stars 5-2-13
May 9, 2013
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Family isn't just about talking. It's about understanding.
December 15, 2009
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

had a lot of potential but blew it.
June 6, 2007

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Bee Season", 11 year-old Eliza(Flora Cross) has just won her school spelling bee and against older kids, too. Her father, Saul(Richard Gere), is a religion professor at Berkeley who is especially interested in the Kabbalah. He takes an extraordinary interest in her contests in an attempt to connect it back to his own studies, thus leaving her older brother, Aaron(Max Minghella), feeling a little left out in the cold. Eliza's mother, Miriam(Juliette Binoche), is a biologist who has issues of her own.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Bee Season" is an intelligent movie about people looking for answers in the world around them.(Since I don't think there are any answers, I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride.) Saul is looking for them in religion while Miriam looks in science. And Miriam is still looking for answers concerning her parents' death. It is a sports movie(if ESPN televises it, then it's a sport) that is positively brimming with ideas. And I liked the imaginative visualizations illustrating how Eliza thinks out the spelling of the words.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Note 1: Scott McGehee and David Siegel also co-directed "Suture" and "The Deep End" which are also both recommended. Both movies are referenced here. Suture is one of the words in an early spelling bee. There is a Lake Tahoe bumper sticker on the refrigerator in the house. Lake Tahoe was the setting for "The Deep End."[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Note 2: With the exception of a rerelease of "Days of Heaven" a few years back, I think this is the first time I have seen a movie featuring Richard Gere in a theatre.[/font]
December 4, 2005
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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