Tristan Wilds and Dakota Fanning aren’t sickly sweet in Bees.
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES (Fox, 2008) D: Gina Prince-Bythewood, w/ Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah. Rating: NNNNN; DVD package: NNN Rating: NNNNN
Heartwarming is hard to do without falling into either sentimentality or reverence. The Secret Life Of Bees walks that thin line, guided by a script in which every scrap of emotion is earned and energized by luminous performances.
In 1964 South Carolina, 14-year-old Lilly Owens (Dakota Fanning) runs away from an abusive father and her own consuming sense of guilt and lands at the Boatwright sisters' bee farm.
Fanning and Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo as the Boatwright sisters all give nuanced, memorable performances, as powerful physically as verbally.
Fanning and Latifah share director Gina Prince-Bythewood's chatty, anecdotal commentary, while editor Terilyn Shropshire joins her for a second, more informative one.
EXTRAS Theatrical version, extended version, two commentaries, four making-of docs, deleted scenes. Widescreen. English, Spanish audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles.