I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

Lily (Dakota Fanning) carries around a heavy burden.  One night years ago, her mother Deborah (Hilarie Burton) attempted to leave her dad T. Ray (Paul Bettany).  Deborah pulled a gun, which was knocked out of her hand by T. Ray.  Lily, who was a toddler then, picked up the gun.  It went off, killing Deborah.

It's the summer of 1964, and Lily shares a home with her sullen, distant dad.  Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) is the housekeeper along with being Lily's friend.  Rosaleen has a run-in with the town's bigots when they attempt to stop her from registering to vote.  Lily takes one too many punishments from her dad.  Lily sneaks Rosaleen out of the hospital -- where she's being held after being beaten by the bigots -- and they run out of town.  Lily has a memento of her mother's with the name of a town on it.  Upon arriving there, Lily is drawn to the house of three sisters who run a honey-making business. 

August (Queen Latifah) is the oldest, and she along with sister May (Sophie Okenado) agree to take Lily and Rosaleen in.  Their sister June (Alicia Keys), a music teacher with a pursuant suitor named Neil (Nate Parker), doesn't think it's a good idea.  Both Lily and Rosaleen find peace at the sisters' home.  Lily makes a friend in Zach (Tristan Wilds), a young man who helps out in the honey business.  But outside forces -- prevalent racism, changing racial politics, family secrets -- intrude on the peace. 

Dakota Fanning is a fantastic actress.  So is Sophie Okenado, who plays the child-like, sensitive May.  The film is based on the novel by Sue Monk Kidd.  It was written and directed by Gina Prince-Blythewood, who wrote the screenplay for Love and Basketball (2000).

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