Bee Season Reviews

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August 16, 2014
A movie with more promise than it lives up to. Everyone gives fine performances, but the story and character development just don't provide much that's emotionally compelling. Juliette Binoche's character is just confusing and unclear until 2/3 of the way through, which was frustrating as I watched it. And Flora Cross' 11-year old Eliza is not fully believable in her seemingly continual state of pouting and sadness. There doesn't seem to really be anything for her to be that sad about. And the mystical/magical elements in the film just distract from what could have been a more straight forward drama in the hands of a better writer. But the cinematography and editing are interesting as always with films from McGehee and Siegel.
½ June 28, 2014
A beautiful, remarkable and intelligent film about a family in crisis told with unexpectedly imaginative visual imagery and great sensitivity. The cast is so good, especially young Flora Cross, and the direction very skillful and deft.
June 23, 2014
Bee Season is boring and misleading, falling flat immediately and never developing any warmth. It believes it's intelligent, when in fact it's just pretentious. Its cast do nothing to help its overwhelmingly dull tone, Minghella coming across as one-dimensional, Binoche as unsure of her portrayal, and Gere as not believable. Don't waste your time on Bee Season; it overwhelms and under-delivers.
May 15, 2014
Watching paint dry. I was patient. Very patient. Well filmed and a well assembled cast wasted on a dumb and dumber script. I was left wondering, did Richard Gere approve of this script or was it a bait and switch?
½ January 11, 2014
A little slow and confusing. It took me until the end to figure out what was going on with the mom, which was odd anyway.
½ August 22, 2013
This movie was such a pile of tripe. It's the laughing stock of my family. All the characters are completely unlikeable and annoying, from the crackhead mother to the "why-is-my-sister-getting-all-the-attention-now" son, and Richard Geer is the Dynamite in this cow pile. He's so pretentious and annoying it makes me want to chew off my fingers.
Super Reviewer
½ May 9, 2013
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
December 7, 2012
Would like to get round to watching.
½ September 23, 2012
I saw it on cable & got glued till the end. The mom's secret was bizarre. The ending was not at all spectacular.
½ August 24, 2012
The more I think about it, the less I like it.
½ May 6, 2012
Malgré l'effort des réalisateurs de nous offrir une histoire complexe et intriguante à souhait, Bee Season ne réussit pourtant pas. Le film se révèle inintéressant, long et redondant. La petite touche de mystère et complexité ajoutée rebutent alors davantage le long-métrage, puisqu'on n'a pas le goût de s'y intéresser tellement il n'est pas accrocheur. Richard Gere est un bon acteur, Kate Bosworth, bien que peu présente, est appréciable. Je ne peux pas démolir le film complètement, il possède sa part de qualité, mais ça reste plutôt ennuyant!
½ February 1, 2012
Everybody missed the boat on this one. It's a great family drama with well-observed performances all throughout. One of the best films of 2005.
December 24, 2011
Quirky family drama, original story line
April 11, 2011
If there is a novel that doesn't lend itself for cinematic adaptation, "Bee Season", written by Myla Goldberg, would seem to be the one. It doesn't help that the screen play, as written by the talented Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal, doesn't help to clarify for the casual viewer what is going on with the Naumanns of Oakland. In fact, the problem in the novel, as well as with the movie is Miriam, the distant mother who has fled reality and lives in a world of her own.

"Bee Season" co-directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel feels empty because the somber treatment they have given to the movie. The dark cinematography of Giles Nuttgens doesn't help either, but the musical scores of Peter Nasher works well, as a whole.

One enters the Naumann world through the sensitive Eliza, a girl much older and wiser than her 11 years indicate. It is Eliza who senses all that is wrong with her family, as it appears they are falling apart in front of her, and as a little girl, she simply can't do anything at all to bring everyone together. As a way to escape the unhappy home, Eliza immerses herself in the spelling bee contests in which she excels. Not until then, does she get the attention of her father, who supports her newly found talent.

Saul, the religious studies professor, doesn't even come aware about what's wrong with his marriage until it's too late. In fact, he is a man appears to be unable to communicate with the illusive Miriam, a woman who is deeply disturbed by what happened in her own life with the tragedy of her parents death. Saul and Miriam's marriage is over, but they don't do anything to correct the situation. Miriam's problems come to a head when she is taken away and makes Saul confront the many issues that he probably never dealt with before.

Aaron, the older son, is rebelling against his own religion. He needs to experiment with other beliefs because he is at that stage of his life in which he is trying to find out who he is. That is why when he meets Chali, the young Hare Krishna follower, he decides to follow her in his quest for finding a guidance for his life.

The ensemble playing is dominated by the youngest cast member, Flora Cross, who makes a luminous Eliza. Her expressive eyes and her intelligence tells everything about her. Juliette Binoche's Miriam is a puzzle. Richard Gere does what he can with Saul and Max Minghella has some good moments as Aaron. Kate Bosworth is seen briefly as Chali.

"Bee Season" is a difficult film to sit through because it is a dark look into a family falling apart without a safety net. Also, the way the film has been promoted gives a false impression about its content.
August 22, 2010
without richard gere 1/2 *
½ January 11, 2010
Shows the dangerz of spellin properlie
Super Reviewer
December 15, 2009
Family isn't just about talking. It's about understanding.
½ December 2, 2009
Film koji je na pocetku nesto obecavao a onda se pretvorio u nesto neobicno, nerazjasnjeno i bezvezno. Steta
½ September 12, 2009
whoa the last part is amazing. i really cried so hard and had my burst of emotion. Eliza (Flora Cross) is the daughter of lJuliette Binouche AND RCHARD GERE who is good in spelling and she did won the contest in spelling bee. her family is terribly falling apart. oih my gawd eliza's eyes made me cry when at the last part she didnt won the contest. =( definitely a must seen movie
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