One of the best books I've ever read was The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. Recently, my book club read it. Then a few of us went to see the movie.
I loved it. I grew up reading stories by Sue Monk Kidd. She wrote for Guidepost magazine and a few "women's magazines." As I grew older, I grew to recognize her name and I always enjoyed reading what she wrote.
Usually, I feel that the book is better than the movie. Usually, I feel the book is much better than the movie. It is difficult to make a call this time. This movie, in my opinion, is outstanding.
Queen Latifah plays August Boatwright. Her sister May (who grieves the loss of her twin, April and is sensitive to the pain of the world) is played by Sophie Okonedo. Jennifer Hudson plays Lily's caregiver and Lily's father's housekeeper, Rosaleen, and looks quite different than she did in this movie (you are still beautiful even without the make-up, Jennifer). Paul Bettany is convincing as Lily's evil father, T.Ray Owens. (Is it just me or does he always play an evil character?)He does a good job of being bad- I hated him. The only glance we get of him having any heart at all is when Rosaleen tells him that she is taking Lily into town to buy a training bra. Another Boatwright sister, June, is played by Alicia Keys. (And can this sister give a look.) Lily is played by Dakota Fanning.
The movie was filmed in North Carolina. I've been there many a time and that state is just as lovely in person as on the big screen. The story is supposed to take place in Tiburon, South Carolina.
Lily (flees (with Rosaleen in tow) to Tiburon to escape from her father and in search of answers about her mother, who is deceased. In one scene, Lily's father punishes her by using grits poured on the floor, making Lily "stand" on them with her bare knees. I found this to be an interesting portion of the story. Was this really a punishment in those days or something that someone else created? If anyone else has ever heard of this, I would love to hear from you.
August takes Lily in as her "bee apprentice," teaching her all about bees and honey making. This is one part of the story in which the movie disappointed me. While reading the book, the reader learns a lot of interesting facts about honey bees which endears one to the bee. The movie doesn't dwell upon many bee facts.