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Arts / Entertainment

Black History Month: 'The Secret Life of Bees'

February 18, 2011

'The Secret Life of Bees' will be shown at Colorado State on Monday, Feb. 21 as part of the CSU Black History Month Movie Mondays (throughout the month of February). The film garnered 10 wins and 14 nominations in different award categories, including Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress.

Dakota  Fanning (Lily) flees her troubled relationship with her father in the company of her caregiver and only friend, Rosaleen (played by Jennifer Hudson).

Movie Mondays

Colorado State's Black/African American Cultural Center is hosting a series of films on Mondays in conjunction with Black History Month. On Monday, Feb. 21, The Secret Life of Bees will be shown in the Lory Student Center, Room 204.

Movie Mondays films highlight the contributions of African-American actors, directors, and producers and deal with the African American experience and Black culture. Each film has four showings at:  

  • 9 a.m.
  • 11 a.m.
  • 1 p.m.
  • 3 p.m.

The film in a nutshell

Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14-year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother.

To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and only friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping. 

Film synopsis

Leisurely paced and emotionally hefty, The Secret Life of Bees circles around 14-year-old Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning), living with an abusive father (Paul Bettany) and a decade of guilt after her mother's accidental death. Lily runs away with her housekeeper, Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson), searching for her mother's past with a Madonna wood painting leading to a Tiburon, S.C., honey farm.

Rosaleen had another reason for leaving town. Buoyed by President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, Rosaleen wants to register to vote. A violent confrontation with bigots lands her injured in jail. Lily springs Rosaleen, lending The Secret Life of Bees a Huck-and-Jim aura as they face adversity on the road.

The destination is worth it. The Black Madonna Honey Farm is managed by the Boatwright sisters: maternal August (Queen Latifah), budding Black Power activist June (Keys) and woman-child May (Sophie Okonedo), a brittle spirit prone to crying jags carried out at a wailing wall stuffed with handwritten prayers.

Lily sees the Boatwrights as the family she always wanted. Rosaleen sees proud, successful African-American women she'd like to be.

~ Steve Persall, St. Petersburg Times film critic

[The image accompanying this story's intro: Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning, courtesy of the Internet Movie Database.]

Contact: Marcus Elliott
Phone: (970) 491-5781