Bee Season - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Bee Season Reviews

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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.
March 13, 2011
Okay, it's a movie about spelling bees. You can't expect any great excitement. But there are also some great family discussions in this film, and for the most part I was pretty interested. It's nothing I'd be in a big rush to see again, but if you're in the mood for something low-key and intellectual, this is probably a good choice.
February 26, 2011
Didn't understand it really...
February 9, 2011
wanted to really enjoy it, but it felt flat and alienating. too bad.
January 28, 2011
First movie role from Max Minghella, with a great cast and a emotional story of finding your true belief in a roller coaster of spiritual thoughts...
December 24, 2010
Thoroughly depressing story of a malfunctioning family unit and their talented spelling daughter. Not one for the suicidal.
½ October 4, 2010
It was really interesting, but I felt like something was missing. From my understanding this movie is based on a novel, and I think it would just make a better book. However, I definitely feel this all-star cast put together a fantastic film, and I am very much impressed with each of their talents. There weren't a lot of special effects, but what was there, I thought was well done and tasteful. Overall, this film is a thinker that leaves a lasting impression.
August 22, 2010
without richard gere 1/2 *
½ August 21, 2010
....least favorite of any film i've ever seen..
½ June 23, 2010
Oh! Muy espiritual... Un prisma de culturas y creencias, en el marco de una vida familiar. Al final Eliza solo deja que la voz de Dios fluya a trav├ęs de ella o no? Lo que importa es la familia y tus seres queridos.
June 19, 2010
A disjointed family ; faith-suspecting son, brilliant daughter, emotionally disturbed mother & a father with control obsession are trying to move on & pretend nothing wrong.
I liked the scene when the handwriting was turning into hundredth of flowing letters
½ May 9, 2010
It is difficult for me to imagine a more pointless film.
½ March 7, 2010
unfortunately gimmicky and overwrought
½ February 16, 2010
This is great. The film moves in gloomy progress, gloomy faces. I like that. Unpredictable ending. I was wondering why didn't they just say everything what they want to say? I've felt a lump too in my throat by seeing them acted like that. *gemaas
February 14, 2010
Strange but interesting story! I think! ... I have to watch it again!
February 9, 2010
''Words may define us, but it's love that connects us.'' - hmmm...
½ February 4, 2010
its a very confusing film to watch
January 25, 2010
Great acting, interesting undertones. "Akeelah and the Bee" was better, perhaps.
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.
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