The Secret life of Bees is an American drama film which was released in the year of 2008, adapted from the novel having the same name by Sue Monk Kidd. The movie was entirely directed by Gina Prince Bythewood and produced by Lauren Shuler Donner along with the collaboration of Will Smith having the assistance of his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith holding the chair of the Executive producer. The film is recognized for the noted performance of Queen Latifah’s critically acclaimed performance as August Boatwright. The film was released in the region of North America on October 17, in the year of 2008 and in the United Kingdom on December 5, 2008.
The plot goes like, Lily Owens lives in a peach orchard in the region of South Carolina in the year of 1964. She has a father who is widowed, abusive and always angry with her over petty issues. On the day of her 14th birthday, the harvest is starting, societal and personal unrest consumes her entire life, and a string of events having a mix of mystical, terrifying, unjust which all together compels her to escape somewhere else and start with a new life.
Lily is accompanied by Rosaleen who was a housekeeper at her place back in South Carolina. Lily is a blonde and is naively confident. Rosaleen is an African American, who is in her 20’s and is much aware of the political conditions and is proud of herself. Rosaleen was once beaten up by 3 racists, was in police custody and then ended up in the hospital. Later on lily had an argument with her father and helps Rosaleen escape from the hospital. Lily has the possession of a few mementos of her mother who was dead almost 10 years ago, one of which is a label: “Black Madonna Honey”, Tiburon, S.C and Tiburon becomes their destination.
Within a span of 2 days they reach Tiburon and find their way to the home of August Boatwright and her sisters known as, May and June. August has utilized her skills as a beekeeper in building a successful business. She had also been successful in building a strong community of black women who used to gather regularly for prayers to an incredible statue of a black woman whose hand reaches out for the blessings to all the people praying to her for life and death.
Despite the unlikely behavior of lily’s lies, August takes them in as a trade for labor. Lily takes up the responsibility and becomes an apprentice beekeeper. During the course of these events, she discovers May’s “Wailing wall”, filled in with little notes about every single event which has distressed May in her life, learning also about “Black Mary” inside the living room.
In the meantime, Lily confides her all truths in Zach who is a teenage son of one member of the prayer group and works as the assistant beekeeper of August. While trying to watch a movie sitting in the colored section, Zack gets kidnapped and roughed up for his disregard to the racial barriers along with Lily being yelled at. As a measure of protection, June and August hide the news but Zack’s mother fails to do that and the event breaks out in broad daylight. However, Zack’s return the next day goes in vain since, May drowns herself as a result of the pain she was in.
During the time of May’s funeral, some of the reconciliations and truths breaks out too. June, who was a confident young woman agrees to get married to her long-time boyfriend. Rosaleen on the other hand is asked to be a part of the household family. Lily, who carries the belief that she has already killed her mother, sees flashbacks and blames herself for Zack’s kidnapping and also the death of May. She ends up smashing several jars of honey and packs her things to run away, unloved and unlovable.
Before she runs away, August places a challenge against the outlook which Lily carries, and tells her about her mother, whom August had taken care of as a child and later sheltered her from T-ray. Simultaneously, T-ray had given out her location. Lily is unwilling to leave especially with him, and three of the women form a phalanx of support. T-ray admits that her mother would have taken her if she was not dead. Anger upon this fact, he leaves her to be raised within the Boatwright farm. The movie ends with an older Lily making a narration as she tucks a journal of the story within the May’s wall.
The production of the movie began on January 7, in the year of 2008. In the region of Lumberton, North Carolina and also in Watha, North Carolina which ended within the span of a few months. The movie was later on shown in September 2008 at the 33rd Annual Toronto International Film Festival, and was again released in the theatres on October 17, in the year of 2008. The music of The Secret Life of Bees was originally produced by Mark Isham.
The Secret Life of Bees had received a mixture of reviews which were all positive. Rotten Tomatoes provided the film with a score of 59% which was based on about 136 reviews. Written in the New York Times, reviews were given by A. O. Scott who thought the film to be a familiar and a tired fable of tales. Another critic, named as Roger Ebert found it enchanting. The movie had the position of being third at the North American box office for the revenue collection of $10,527,799 in the first weekend. Till the day of 13th December, 2008 the film had collected a revenue of $47,270,658 collectively from United States and Canada. The movie had also won the awards for the “Favorite Independent Movie” at the 35th People’s Choice Awards.
The film had received a total of seven awards from the NAACP Image Award, which included the likes of Outstanding Motion pictures, outstanding actress in motion pictures, outstanding actor in motion pictures and outstanding supporting actress in motion pictures.
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