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.
PG-13 (for thematic material and some violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


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
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Secret Life of Bees

All Critics (135) | Top Critics (34)

No excerpt available.

November 16, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | December 4, 2008
Time Out
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.

Full Review… | October 23, 2008
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 20, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | October 20, 2008
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
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 be used as a means for a white girl to resolve her 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

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