The Secret Life of Bees

October 17, 2008 0 By Fans
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

Still of Queen Latifah in The Secret Life of BeesStill of Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson in The Secret Life of BeesEva Pigford at event of The Secret Life of BeesStill of Alicia Keys and Nate Parker in The Secret Life of BeesStill of Alicia Keys in The Secret Life of BeesStill of Dakota Fanning in The Secret Life of Bees


set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother…

Release Year: 2008

Rating: 7.0/10 (9,978 voted)

Critic's Score: 57/100

Gina Prince-Bythewood

Stars: Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah

set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the 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.

Writers: Gina Prince-Bythewood, Sue Monk Kidd


Dakota Fanning

Lily Owens

Queen Latifah

August Boatwright

Jennifer Hudson

Rosaleen Daise

Alicia Keys

June Boatwright

Sophie Okonedo

May Boatwright

Paul Bettany

T. Ray Owens

Hilarie Burton

Deborah Owens

Tristan Wilds

Zach Taylor

Nate Parker


Shondrella Avery


Renée Clark


Sharon Morris


Nicky Buggs


Jasmine Burke

Sugar Girl

Emma Sage Bowman

Young Lily

Bring Your Girlfriends, Sisters, Mothers and Daughters


Official Website:
Official site [France] |
Official site [Japan] |

Release Date: 17 October 2008

Filming Locations: Lumberton, North Carolina, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $11,000,000


Opening Weekend: $10,527,799
(17 October 2008)
(1, 591 screens)

Gross: $38,105,395
(28 January 2009)

Technical Specs


(director's cut)
(Toronto International Film Festival)

Did You Know?


Alicia Keys learned to play the cello in 4 weeks for this part.


In the scene where Rosaleen and Lily walks down the dirt road to go to town, Lily wears shorts but when they get into town she is wearing longer pants. And also in the next seen where Lily is in the bedroom with her father she is back to wearing shorts again.


Lily Owens:
[First lines]
I killed my mother when I was four years old. She was all I ever wanted and I took her away.

User Review

Solid film…

Rating: 6/10

I caught an exclusive screening of this film a week back and I must
say, it might be the best film featuring a mostly black cast since
"Antwone Fisher." The story centers around Lily (Dakota Fanning), a
poor, lonely little girl in the deep south, who deals with a tragic
past and a miserable, cruel father (Paul Bettany). Her life revolves
around dreams of being every bit like her deceased mother and her
relationship with her caregiver Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson).

In the midst of the civil rights movement, Rosaleen finds herself in
some trouble with the locals, inspiring Lily to flee with her to a
South Carolina town that she believes holds the secret to her mother's
past. In this town, they find refuge with the Boatwright sisters (Queen
Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo), who take them in on the
strength of a story concocted by Lily. Through their cultured world,
filled with beekeeping, a lucrative honey business, religious beliefs
and love, Lily finds the security she has longed for and finds the
answers to questions that haunted her for years.

The director (Prince-Brythewood) did a great job at making us care
about the characters, even the miserable father played excellently by
Paul Bettany. Alicia Keys shows that some R&B singers can actually
perform well in a movie, playing the snooty June Boatwright. However,
the best performances has to be between Fanning and Okonedo, who played
the gentle, simple minded, manic depressive May Boatwright. If Okonedo
reminded me less of Thandie Newton's character in "Beloved," I would've
predicted an Oscar nomination depending on this year's competition.
Maybe there's one in store for Bettany? Its all left to be seen.

The film has its flaws. It dragged for a good portion of the first
thirty minutes as we watch Lily and Rosaleen mill about, doing mundane
things in their pitiful lives. But then it really picks up when they
meet the Boatwright sisters. The characters were balancing on a thin
line between empathetic and sympathetic. You never want to be in the
latter. And the filmmakers couldn't resist being a bit schmaltzy on
occasion, making most of it play like a good after school special with
nothing beyond two dimensionality. And my biggest problem with the
film… anti-climatic.

Overall, its a solid film and definitely worth the time in seeing.