Based on the Sue Monk Kidd bestselling novel the movie is set in the American south in 1964. Leading the cast is Dakota Fanning, the young actress best known as the pre-teen star of War of the Worlds, Charlotte’s Web and Man on Fire. As the Civil Rights Act of 1964 restructures society, the characters in The Secret Life of Bees restructure a family. Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) is an emotionally damaged fourteen-year-old being raised by her abusive single parent father (Paul Bettany) after she accidentally shot her mother ten years previously.
She’s now fourteen and on the cusp of adult roles and with The Secret Life of Bees takes a big step forward.
I truly dislike being manipulated into feeling a certain way, feeling as though if a tear doesn’t come to my eye that I don’t “get it” or have a heart like a cherry pit. President Lyndon B Johnson has just written a Civil Rights Bill into law promising equality to all, but when Lily and her nanny Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) try and exercise that equality Rosaleen is brutalized by bigoted townsfolk.

The story tells of her search for answers about her mother’s death and her search for unconditional love.
Nothing irks me more than swelling orchestral music, timed to coincide with a first tender kiss, the death of a loved one or a warm embrace between long-lost relatives. Following the beating the pair go one the run—Lily from her father, Rosaleen from police custody. In this story, bees provide an analogy for human relations, and the human spirit provides strength as characters struggle with despair and anger. So I went to The Secret Life of Bees expecting a slight story buoyed by a handful of cinematic tricks geared to turn me into a ball of mush. They end up at the Pepto Bismol-pink home of the bee-keeping Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Sophie Okenodo and Alicia Keys) in the nearby town of Tiburon. I liked it because although it is all of the above it is also a well crafted, warm hearted story with compelling characters, good performances with an interesting dollop of civil rights history thrown in.

She barely moves, as though she’s almost paralyzed by a lifetime of hurt and anguish but when the levee breaks and she bursts into tears, screaming that she is “unlovable” it is heart wrenching. The quest for love and dignity in a harsh environment is central to Sue Monk Kidd’s novel.Performance Outcomes and DeliverablesStudents research the South Carolina setting, explore the influence of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, evaluate characters’ behavior and motivation, trace a recurring motif, and recognize the use of imagery and figurative language. Instead I found a rarity, a life affirming movie that didn’t make me want to reach for a barf bag.
The combination of personal stories set against the backdrop of Jim Crow America isn’t a new idea, but The Secret Life of Bees manages a hopeful tone, despite the hatred and bigotry contained in the story.
They also keep a reader-response journal, support opinions with textual evidence, make predictions, and create a soundtrack that reflects the plot, setting, and theme of the novel.Supplementary materials feature a content quiz with answer key and suggestions for additional research, writing, and art projects.

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