The Secret Life of Bees - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Secret Life of Bees Reviews

Page 1 of 177
Super Reviewer
½ November 18, 2015
Paul Bettany is miscast in his role but Dakota Fanning proves again that she is very talented, only it is frustrating to see a relevant theme such as racism in the South Carolina of 1964 be used as a means for a white girl to resolve her issues in a sappy, reductive way.
Super Reviewer
August 9, 2009
"The Sweet Life of Bees is a film of sad stories with sad situations. I really enjoyed everyones acting. I had my doubts about Alicia Keys as I do all singers/rappers when they try their hand at acting. She surprised me. I thought she did a great job in her role. I loved Q-Latifah in this. Her character is wise and loving. Just what Lily needed.
Lily Owens is a troubled young girl in the search for answers about her mother. Feeling unwanted and abandoned she runs with the one person that shows her kindness and love. Her nanny/housekeeper Rosaleen. Their journey leads to August. From there the mystery of what happened to Lily's mother unravels.
I really enjoyed the sad tale and I look forward to reading the book."
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2011
Complete and utter feel good Oprah trash.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2008
Good movie, sad, but not totally depressing. The whole cast are excellent, particularly Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah. I am not sure I would have wanted to go to the movies and see this one, but as a DVD movie, no complaints.
Super Reviewer
October 14, 2008
Dakota Fanning becomes teenage in this drama movie and delivers a remarkable performance... and what feels like the first where her screaming skills aren't overused. She strikes me as a young Jodie Foster... one who has just transitioned from child actor to real actress. I can't wait to see where her career takes her.
Paul Bettany is such a shock here as he typically plays a well dressed, under-spoken British. As a southern redneck whose bitterness rages against the world, he not only pulls it off, but manages to make grits seem even worse than I previously thought. Sophie Okonedo pulls off the always difficult task of making a "special" adult seem very real and vital. A most touching performance from a top notch talent.
This is a good story with strong performances, though to take the next step as a film, it needed to dig a little deeper into its wide range of characters and settings.
Super Reviewer
½ May 5, 2009
In the hands of a more talented writer/director, "The Secret Life of Bees" could've been another "The Color Purple"; instead, it's a cheesy, forgettable movie.

Watch solely to witness the awesomeness of Dakota Fanning's mature performance, as well as the great supporting turns by Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Sophie Okonedo and Paul Bettany.
Super Reviewer
February 24, 2009
So Far the very Best film in 2009 that I have seen. Can't pick the best actor in this one. Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo should of all gotten awards for there acting in this one. A 1000 other people will review this film, bottom line is you need to see it. A better understanding comes from living in the south. I never knew anyone but my father knew another use for grits besides eating them I about fell over on that scene. 5 stars nothing else. Oh yea add it to your collection.
Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2008
Very different is my first thought. I've been wanting to see this for quite some time, finally rented it. Dakota Fanning was great in this. The scenery was very pretty. All the other ladies were great as well. It's just a sweet story.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2008
This is an engrossing movie. During the early 1960's, Dakota Fanning lives a damaged life with her father. In rebellion to what has happened to her and to her nanny, they leave him and move in with a trio of sisters - beekeepers.

This is a very powerful movie - if you are not careful, you will need to dab your eyes while Lily (Miss Fanning) determines her roots.
Super Reviewer
December 12, 2008
Dakota Fanning impresses me more and more. Not a bad story, but I think the handling of race issues was a bit contrived in the film-about-race-with-a-white-protagonist way.
Super Reviewer
November 23, 2008
Guys that are looking for a movie that they the can watch with their girlfriends without being extremely bored should consider The Secret Life of Bees. It's fairly interesting and not too sappy.

My only real gripe was with the women's fascination with the carving of Mary. It seemed a little odd and cult-ish, and it really didn't add much to the story in my opinion.
Super Reviewer
November 8, 2008
The Secret Life of Bees, is such a good film with a great cast and a powerful message. This film reminds people that Love and friendship are blind to everything including color.

Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Dakota Fanning, Alicia Keys, and Sophie Okonedo all make a strong cast. Many poiniant moments that will want a tissue or two.
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2008
This excellent film tells the fable of a 14-year old Lily(played to perfection by Dakota Fanning),and her black caretaker(Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson) who escape and seizes an opportunity to leave behind her abusive father and their South Carolina peach farm and leave a racist town for another marginally less racist town during the height of the civil rights movement in 1964(when the state of South Carolina was hell on earth regarding opportunities for blacks). There they stumble across a bee farm run by three sisters(Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo,and Alicia Keyes). The performances her are worth seeing including Fanning's performance that recalls a young Jodie Foster. Interesting note: The film was produced by Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith and directed by Gina Prince Bythewood. Filming on location in Robeson County,North Carolina in and around the towns of Lumberton,Maxton,and Red Springs.
Super Reviewer
August 7, 2010
In "The Secret Life of Bees," T.Ray(Paul Bettany), a peach farmer in South Carolina in 1964, looks at his 14-year old daughter Lily(Dakota Fanning, who fared better in the criminally misunderstood "Hounddog") with barely held disgust and physically abuses her. While not excusing his actions, it might have something to do with Lily accidentally shooting her mother(Hilarie Burton) during a fight between the couple when she was four. At least, she gets to go out on her birthday with her friend and housekeeper Rosaleen(Jennifer Hudson) who almost starts a riot. Lily rescues her from a hospital and together they escape to a town where August Boatwright(Queen Latifah) lives and runs a successful honey business. She once might have given shelter to Lily's mom and which they now ask for in exchange for work.

While it is impossible to hate a movie as achingly sincere and beautifully shot as "The Secret Life of Bees," it is almost as hard to admire it, either. The movie has a tendency to sugarcoat history and several of the characters' actions are born of pure naivete.(Yes, it is okay to be angry, as long as it does not lead to violence.) For example, it was not until 1965 that the Voting Rights Act was passed that would make it easier for Rosaleen to register to vote. On a more personal level, nobody is willing to associate Lily with being a walking disaster area, someone who is going to be very troubled for most of her life. And we definitely need a moratorium on characters who want to be writers.
Super Reviewer
October 30, 2008
Halfway in, this viewer was contemplating the task of downgrading every other film he has ever rated in order to place this one at the top of the heap. It was that good. However, the second half did not live up to the promise and five stars will have to do. A powerfully moving story of a young girl carrying burdens far too heavy for someone her age. When the situation at home becomes unbearable, Lily (Dakota Fanning) rescues her caregiver, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), runs away and lands in a safe haven with Miss August (Queen Latifa) and her sisters, May (Sophie Okonedo) and June (Alicia Keys). The cast is superb! The interplay between the three sisters spotlights their differences and celebrates their connectedness. The backdrop of the Civil Rights era in the Deep South provides an underpinning of dread that seeps into the film's fabric. Sadness and joy are present in equal measure. Ultimately, this film is about exorcising one's demons and finding one's place in the world, even if that place is far from one's place of birth. Outstanding!
Super Reviewer
½ October 4, 2009
I thought the film was ok. On the positive the performances were very good. On the negative, the pacing was off. If they would have fixed the pacing, I believe the film would have been much better.
Super Reviewer
½ October 18, 2008
Beautiful cinematography and engaging storytelling! Both director and actors did a fine job capturing emotions. There were people crying to the left, right, and behind me in the theatre. I understand the movie had to respect Sue Monk Kidd's novel, but I really didn't like the exalting of Mary as a deity. It was sacrilegious to Christ that His mother was mentioned more times than He and they prayed to Mary instead of God. But I still have to give this movie three 1/2 stars.
Super Reviewer
May 14, 2010
A very touching story about a little girl who loses her mother and has a tense relationship with her father. She runs away from her home to another loving family. This movie is very good and Dakota Fanning clearly has an aspiring actress career ahead of her. This movie is definetely worth watch as it touches your heart.
Super Reviewer
½ October 10, 2008
Another blah and boring "inspirational" film that begs for attention.
Page 1 of 177