The Secret Life of Bees Reviews

  • Isn't it time that Hollywood took a sabbatical -- maybe a permanent one -- from movies in which black characters exist primarily to save the souls of white ones?

    Owen Gleiberman — Entertainment Weekly

  • The Secret Life of Bees insists so strenuously on its themes of redemption, tolerance, love and healing that it winds up defeating itself.

    A.O. Scott — New York Times

  • This fairytale of the civil rights era is all honey and no sting.

    Xan Brooks — Guardian [UK]

  • Those who were moved by the book are likely to find this adaptation affecting and emotionally satisfying.

    Claudia Puig — USA Today

  • Through it all, Fanning more than keeps up with the big girls.

    Michael O'Sullivan — Washington Post

  • Prince-Bythewood demonstrates a lovely gift for capturing the unsaid.

    Wesley Morris — Boston Globe

  • As for Fanning, she continues to prove herself a natural who can handle anything thrown her way. It's worth wondering, though, if she should have to.

    Elizabeth Weitzman — New York Daily News

  • The Secret Life of Bees is a deeply felt, well-intentioned film about race and reverence in the summer of '64. Like the ambrosia at the center of the plot, it moves slowly and tastes sweet.

    Amy Biancolli — Houston Chronicle

  • The Secret Life of Bees maintains a smartly calibrated balance between the personal and the historic, between nature and culture.

    Lisa Kennedy — Denver Post

  • As a realistic portrayal of life in rural South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees is dreaming. As a parable of hope and love, it is enchanting.

    Roger Ebert — Chicago Sun-Times

  • Sweat and good intentions, however, will take you only so far. And they take Bees right up to the threshold of entertaining%u2014but not one step further.

    Jessica Reaves — Chicago Tribune

  • Jennifer Hudson adds some grit to a project that might have worked better as a Hallmark TV special.

    Andrea Gronvall — Chicago Reader

  • The filmmakers give Latifah and Fanning room to create characters that breathe in the sweet smell of clover and breathe out the contented sigh of independence.

    Carrie Rickey — Philadelphia Inquirer

  • A wonderful film about family, independence and the transcendent power of love, The Secret Life of Bees brims with honest emotion without spilling over into cheap sentimentality.

    Colin Covert — Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • There's a quiet charm to The Secret Life of Bees, a family movie that dares to tackle some serious subjects along the way. It's feel-good most of the time, feel-bad some of the time, and well made throughout.

    Tom Long — Detroit News

  • Nothing wrong with a weeper, as long as it earns its tears honestly. Bees does for the most part, largely through performances that rise above the sometimes too-pat material to convey -- and elicit -- real emotion.

    Bill Goodykoontz — Arizona Republic

  • Like a mouthful of honey, The Secret Life of Bees is cloyingly sweet and gooey, and you're not quite sure you can swallow it undiluted.

    John Anderson — Variety

  • Price-Bythewood has encouraged fairly broad performances from these formidable actresses for characters who aren't terribly well developed in her script.

    Lou Lumenick — New York Post

  • Is the sweetness worth the stickiness in this maudlin American Sisterhood of the Traveling Green Tomatoes?

    Roger Moore — Orlando Sentinel

  • Quite a bit of honey is applied to make the awful truths palatable, but The Secret Life of Bees curtails the sappiness with performances -- especially Fanning's -- that are grounded in reality.

    Susan Walker — Toronto Star

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