Sunday, Sep. 07, 2008

The Secret Life of Bees

In the racially reactionary South Carolina of 1964, a 14-year-old girl (Dakota Fanning, always scarily poised) flees her abusive father in the company of her black nanny (Dreamgirls Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson), and finds refuge on a bee farm run by three sisters (Alicia Keys, Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo). Sounds as though it's got all the ingredients — liberal message, social uplift, good roles for African-American actors and the main one for a nice white person — for a movie coming out in 1964. It's another matter how an adaptation of the Sue Monk Kidd best-seller will fare in a more cynical, facetious age. Besides, Hollywood has diluted many a potent novel, but director Gina Prince-Bythewood will try making this one better than the book.