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:: The Secret Life Of Bees

Don’t be surprised if during awards season next year you don’t hear the name ‘The Secret Life Of Bees’ called out a number of times. In fact Queen Latifah must already have the inside running on ‘Best Actress’ gongs. ‘The Secret Life Of Bees’ is a delightful film that calls upon the values and stylings of the classic ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ as it shows that America hasn’t forgotten to make a film with class.

‘The Secret Life Of Bees’ is set in the 1950s and tells the story of Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) who flees her abusive father, T. Ray Owens (Paul Bettany) alongside with her friend, a young African-American woman, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) who is being pursued by the Police for an incident that saw her assaulted by a group of racists. On a mission to discover information about the mother she accidentally shot as a four year old, Lily is drawn to a honey farm run by the Boatwright sisters; August (Queen Latifah), June (Alicia Keys) and May (Sophie Okonedo). Here Lily not only learns about her mother but also a great deal about herself, while also seeing that despite a change in the law there is still a lot of hate aimed at African-Americans from the white community.

Such is the power of writer/director, Gina Prince-Bythewood’s screenplay that you can’t help but form emotionally ties with the characters in this film and then share their journey with them sometimes causing sadness and other times, happiness. To be honest I haven’t seen a film so powerful enough to affect an audience as emotionally as ‘The Secret Life Of Bees’ does, for a long time.

The other stand-out with this film in the casting and acting. While Dakota Fanning’s accent can sometimes be hard to understand, she does for the most part pull this off well and shows that she is no longer a little girl. Paul Bettany is sensational as an angry, abusive father while Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys also impress. However all these performances pail into significance as Queen Latifah plays the matriarchal character beautifully, this is clearly her best performance to date; even outshining her work in ‘Chicago’.

If you like a film to have heart and soul then you won’t be disappointed by a film that tells an important story without ever getting preachy. Consisting of an excellent script and a cast playing their A-Game ‘The Secret Life Of Bees’ is one of the films of the year.