I just saw a wonderful movie called THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES. I had read the book in a book club a number of years ago and was in LOVE with the story. I remember thinking that this would make a really great movie. Well, the movie did not dissappoint on any front. The story is already brilliant, and the producers (one of which is Mrs. Will Smith - Jada Pinkett Smith) brought in a great cast that truly captured the essence of the lovely characters in the original story.
Set in the period when blacks finally get the right to vote in the racist South, the story is about a little white girl (Dakota Fanning) who runs away with her trusted friend and nanny (JHud) and ends up on the doorstep of the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys), independent, accomplished, cultured sisters who are so different from one another, but ferociously need one another to survive.
The story could have gone all mammy on us, but what surfaces is pure love, regardless of age, sex, race or economic status.
Queen Latifah, who plays the family matriarch of the family, has such a presence on the screen - her voice and her figure are so lovingly imposing - like the love and strength of a Grandmother you see only during the summers. Sophie Okonedo embodied the emotionally challenged sister - even though she had her problems, in many ways, she could be considered the glue that held them all together. Alicia Keys was the revelation of the movie to me. Her brassy, stuck up, bougie if you will, delivery was spot on perfect. And Dakota - honey, that child has the makings of being the next successor to Meryl Strepp and Cate Blanchett, two great actresses who can spiritually and physically morph into ANY character. This girl is brilliant.
I am a sucker for emotion and this movie had me crying for the entire last hour like a blubbering fool - tears of heartache, joy and hope. Sometimes we need to purge our emotions like that. It certainly came in handy.