I was really excited to see this movie. I’d read the book years ago (a great one passed onto me from my mom) and loved it. Plus the casting looked divine – so many great sistahs! the question is – how did it hold up to adaptation?
In my opinion – pretty well. There are elements to the book that are hard to capture, particularly the mental dialogue of the lead character, Lily (played here by Dakota Fanning). But the overall themes and emotions come through from the book – the bitterness that comes from not knowing your family, the redemptive love of surrogate mother figures, the longing for spiritual awakening. You’ll laugh, and I can almost guarantee you’ll cry.
The cast is divine. The three sisters are played by Queen Latifah (as August), Alicia Keys (June) and Sophie Okonedo (May). And Lily’s nanny and friend is portrayed by recent Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson. Latifah, as usual, radiates love and a gentle spirit. She may not be an actress on par with Meryl Streep, but she sure makes it look easy. Keys settles into her role surprisingly well and seems to have a career in acting ahead of her. Not to mention the fact that she looks GORGEOUS in all the fabulous 60’s dresses and jeans she wears. But the tragic heart of the movie is Hotel Rwanda‘s Okonedo, who perfectly captures the sweet but tortured spirit of May. Her smile is infectious. Hudson once again shows that she’s no slouch at this acting thing, eliciting some hearty laughs.
And what about Fanning? Well, the girl has grown up. She’s talkin’ trash and kissin’ boys. Yet nothing she does comes off as phony, which indicates that her career is going to be as long as her sprouting legs.
Bees is a really pleasant movie that you can settle into and go for a ride. Enjoy it with your friends and family. And if you like it – read the book! You won’t be disappointed. It’s one of my favorites.
My grade for the movie – B+. For the book – A.