New on DVD: The Secret Life of Bees


The Secret Life of Bees is a touching story about mothers, daughters, and women in general.

Lily Owens’ (Dakota Fanning) mother died in a terrible accident when she was four. Ten years later, she spends every day haunted by the memory. When circumstances make running away the best option, Lily escapes her troubled relationship with her father by fleeing with Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), her caregiver, to a South Carolina town. Guided only by the name on the back of a honey label, Lily hopes to uncover secrets of her mother’s past. They are taken in by the Boatwright sisters – May (Sophie Okonedo), June (Alicia Keys) and August (Queen Latifah). Here, Lily discovers the true meaning of family while becoming enthralled with the wondrous world of bees.

This film is heart-warming. It takes place at the height of the civil rights movement. These women are strong, independent and inspiring in a time when both their race and gender were severe disadvantages. The male roles (Nate Parker and Tristan Wilds) are equally valuable, displaying sensitive, upstanding gentlemen.

Each of the actors, particularly the women, turns in an outstanding performance. Fanning is sincerely troubled and lost, while Latifah, except for one moment, is consistently powerful. Okonedo is incredible and instantly becomes the centre of the audience’s attention whenever she is on-screen.

There are numerous DVD bonus features. It includes both the theatrical and director’s extended cut of the picture. There are eight deleted scenes, half of which are just extended scenes with insignificant additions that are explained by optional audio commentary with director Gina Prince-Bythewood and editor Terilyn Shropshire. Featurettes look at the cast, the process of adapting Sue Monk Kidd’s book of the same name, and production design. Finally, there are two feature commentaries.

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