Archive for the ‘Sophie Okonedo’ Category

secret life of bees“The Secret Life of Bees” (2008)  is an American film based on the 2002 book of the same name by Sue Monk Kidd.  It stars Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo.

It is about Lily Owens, a 14-year-old white girl played by Fanning. She runs away from her heartless father to live with a family of three black sisters who keep bees. It takes place in small-town South Carolina in the summer of 1964. She is unable to discover the truth about herself till she finds out the truth about her dead mother. She discovers the true meaning of love, etc.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith produced it; Gina Prince-Bythewood directed it. She also did “Love & Basketball” (2000), another great film. “Bees” won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Motion Picture.

2008_the_secret_life_of_bees_005I watched it because I wanted to see Alicia Keys. My sister saw it and warned me not to get my hopes up: “Alicia was so-so, nothing great.” She liked the film and watched it again with me, but she was not sure if I would get into it: “It’s a chick flick.” I still liked it. Touching and enjoyable.

Alicia Keys was pretty good. Beautiful as ever.  And, even better, she had a boyfriend so I could imagine myself as him. But one drawback with Alicia Keys is that I never forgot that it was Alicia Keys. Unlike with Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah.

Jennifer Hudson did not have a big part. She played the maid that Fanning’s father had. There is a great scene where she is going to register to vote, extremely upsetting, but after they run away and arrive at Queen Latifah’s house Hudson becomes part of the background.

Sophie Okonedo was good. I wished they would show more of her.

Fanning regarded Hudson as an overgrown child and Hudson herself acted as if Fanning was way older than she was. I am not sure if that is how it was back then between black servants and white children.

Given how she was with Hudson I thought Fanning would be high-handed with Queen Latifah and her sisters. She was not. And it was not just because she was dependent on their kindness: she seemed to respect their age and wisdom. Partly, I think, because they had money and education.

When Sue Monk Kidd, who is white, was asked why she wrote about black women, she said:

Because I grew up surrounded by black women. I feel they are like hidden royalty dwelling among us, and we need to rupture our old assumptions and develop the willingness to see them as they are.

Or maybe it is just a magical Negro story.

When Queen Latifah’s godson took Fanning into town alone in his pickup truck it did not seem believable: how could he be that brainless!

The story takes place in South Carolina but was shot in North Carolina. It is based on Kidd’s childhood in – Georgia. Not that I could ever tell the difference.

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