Friday, October 17, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees -- Magnificently Done!

A few years ago, a good friend of mine handed me her copy of "The Secret Life of Bees" and said, "You've GOT to read this." I did. I've read it two or three times since. It's rough at the beginning (just have to say that for those who are affected easily or the younger ones -- this is sold through Scholastic, but I wouldn't recommend it for children -- maybe for mid-teens. I'd say the book is a bit rougher than the movie, if you're concerned about either).

I hate to sound trite with the word "Heart-warming" but this is definitely a heart-warming (and heart-wrenching) story. It's the kind of tale where you immerse yourself in the setting and long to spend a summer or two there (in this case, at the Boatright honey farm) sometime during your life.

When I heard this book was going to be made into a movie, I was excited and anxious for the day to go see it. I was even more interested in going when I heard who the actors were -- stellar line-up -- Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, and Alicia Keys (I've never seen Alicia Keys in a movie, but was curious to see her in a film anyway).

Today was the opening day and I went to see the first matinee' with my friend who first told me about the book and her sister. Without giving too much away or building up your expectations way too much (sorry, I may just do that), I just have to say that the movie is a gem in the jewelry box of classics. The acting was stellar. Dakota Fanning is always good, but she was superb. Same with Jennifer Hudson. Each actress was a joy to behold. One main actress I'd never seen before was Sophie Okonedo. She was amazing. Paul Bettany played the father and was so believable in the role that I didn't recognize who he was for the first 15 minutes or so.

I experienced the same elation of longing to spend some time in the Boatright home while watching the movie as I did while reading Sue Monk Kidd's book. If you have some time, read the book first. If you think you never will, go see the movie while it's in the theatres. It's wonderful.

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