The Secret Life of Bees


The Secret Life of Bees (2008)


Critic Consensus: The Secret Life of Bees has moments of charm, but is largely too maudlin and sticky-sweet.


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Movie Info

Set in South Carolina in 1964, the film is the moving tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping, honey and the Black Madonna.

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Queen Latifah
as August Boatwright
Dakota Fanning
as Lily Owens
Jennifer Hudson
as Rosaleen Daise
Alicia Keys
as June Boatwright
Sophie Okonedo
as May Boatwright
Paul Bettany
as T. Ray Owens
Hilarie Burton
as Deborah Owens
Tristan Wilds
as Zach Taylor
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Critic Reviews for The Secret Life of Bees

All Critics (138) | Top Critics (34)

There's a purity, clarity and honesty to this feminist heart-warmer's melodramatic instincts that make it surprisingly moving and satisfying.

Dec 5, 2008 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

This fairytale of the civil rights era is all honey and no sting.

Dec 5, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The filmmakers give Latifah and Fanning room to create characters that breathe in the sweet smell of clover and breathe out the contented sigh of independence.

Oct 23, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Sweat and good intentions, however, will take you only so far. And they take Bees right up to the threshold of entertaining%u2014but not one step further.

Oct 20, 2008 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

The honey runs thick in The Secret Life of Bees, and so does the treacle.

Oct 20, 2008 | Rating: C- | Full Review…

It's hard to roll your eyes when they're full of tears.

Oct 17, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Secret Life of Bees


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 used as a means for a white girl to resolve her personal issues in a sappy, reductive way.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

"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

Complete and utter feel good Oprah trash.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

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.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

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