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August 17, 2009 | by  | in Film |
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The Secret Life Of Bees

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Why was this movie not given an Oscar? One of the best films I’ve seen all year, The Secret Life Of Bees is what it says: it’s a story of secrets, mystery, growing up in the 1960s and finding love. But there’s something so different about this movie. It’s not glorified, the characters are troubled, there’s depth, it is simply wonderful.

Fourteen-year-old Lily Owens lives a bothered life. After shooting her mother accidently as a toddler, she lives with both the guilt and with her father (Bettany), an angry and sour war soldier who, when returning home, finds no joy in having a daughter. He resorts to ignoring, insulting and punishing Lily; with this, she runs away and embarks on a journey to find out the truth about her late mother’s life, eventually discovering hers.

Following a honey jar label she found in a secret box of her mother’s, Lily and her black housemaid Rosaleen (Hudson) travel to the town where a bee farm resides, owned and run by three sisters, August, June and May. It’s a beautiful story; I have yet to read the novel, but it is finely crafted, with societal realities of the 1960s and the racial segregation that was a part of life during these times. Jennifer Hudson rebels in a powerful scene when she stands her ground against white men in the street.

The film is filled to the brim with stars; there’s hardly a face that isn’t recognisable, especially the main characters. It has this appeal. Dakota Fanning is strong as the lead. She’s at that pubescent, adolescent stage of her life which makes her awkward, a girl who doesn’t understand herself and the world quite yet but is on her way there. August (Latifah) takes her under her wing as her own—they are gorgeous together. In fact, all the characters work well together. It’s one of those deep and meaningful movies, where every single part of it moves you; it touches you from deep within.

Honestly, be prepared to cry a little, but it’s thankfully broken up with some laughs here and there, and enough 60s music to groove to through the sitting. Absolute magic.

The Secret Life Of Bees
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Written by Gina Prince-Bythewood and based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd
With Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Paul Bettany

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