Secret Life of Bees

Theatrical Release: October 17, 2008
Secret Life of Bees


14 year old Lily Owen tries to cope with her mother’s death 14 year old Lily Owen tries to cope with her mother’s death during the summer of 1964. She lives in South Carolina where racism is a difficult problem and the only woman in her life she can depend on is taken away because of her race. When she and Rosaleen reunite it’s a quest to find out the truth about her mother’s death 10 years prior.

Dove Review

This movie is grounded in reality and it’s a shame we can’t award it our Dove Seal! But the language is quite strong in spots, mainly used by an angry man who abused his wife and now carries on the practice with his daughter, Lily (Dakota Fanning). Dakota Fanning is amazing in this picture. Her talent shines above her young years. Queen Latifah is also dead on in this film as August Boatwright. Her two sisters are named after months as well, May and June. The story takes place in 1964.

Lily needs to know if her mother, who died when Lily was four, truly loved her as she doesn’t believe her father does. He sure doesn’t give her any reason to think otherwise. He tells her that her mother left for awhile and only returned to pick up her things, not Lily, when she was tragically killed. Lily leaves and goes in search of the truth. There is one location she believes holds the key to the locked door of what really happened, and Lily finds her way there along with a young black woman who had served as a maid for the family.

Lily encounters August and her two sisters and she begins to feel as though she is part of a family for the first time. She also begins to unravel the mystery concerning her mother and if she really wanted her or not. This film deals with abuse and racism and some racial terms are used. The story also focuses on the need for people to feel loved. It is a shame that the strong language was included in the movie, which prevents us from awarding our Dove Seal to the film.

Content Description

Sex: A young couple briefly kiss as do a young adult couple; a candlestick salad looks like a penis.
Language: GD-7; JC-3; Ch*ist-2; G/OMG-2; H-6; D-3: A-3; B-1; S-3; N*gge*-5 (woman calls herself this name once).
Violence: Man and woman fight and he grabs her; woman is accidentally shot with a gun (not graphic); a black woman spits on a white man and he grabs her and slaps her around, bloodying her face; a father is verbally abusive to his daughter and grabs her by her hair in one scene; a young black teenager is taken out and beaten although only his face with a few bruises and blood is seen afterward.
Drugs: Drinking by a few characters.
Nudity: Cleavage.
Other: A main character commits suicide; abusive father makes girl with bloodied knees get down on knees on grits on the floor as a punishment; People pray as they look at or touch a black Madonna; the song "Amazing Grace" is played.


Company: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Writer: Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sue Monk Kidd
Producer: James Lassiter
Genre: Action
Runtime: 110 min.
Industry Rating: PG-13
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter