The Secret Life of Bees (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Secret Life of Bees2008

The Secret Life of Bees (2008)



Critic Consensus: The Secret Life of Bees has moments of charm, but is largely too maudlin and sticky-sweet.

The Secret Life of Bees Photos

Movie Info

Set in South Carolina in 1964, the film is the moving 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, honey and the Black Madonna.

Watch it now


Queen Latifah
as August Boatwright
Dakota Fanning
as Lily Owens
Jennifer Hudson
as Rosaleen Daise
Alicia Keys
as June Boatwright
Sophie Okonedo
as May Boatwright
Paul Bettany
as T. Ray Owens
Hilarie Burton
as Deborah Owens
Tristan Wilds
as Zach Taylor
View All

News & Interviews for The Secret Life of Bees

Critic Reviews for The Secret Life of Bees

All Critics (138) | Top Critics (39)

Glossy yet ultimately shallow, this platitudinous, unconvincing drama makes The Colour Purple look like Mississippi Burning.

March 6, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

There's a purity, clarity and honesty to this feminist heart-warmer's melodramatic instincts that make it surprisingly moving and satisfying.

December 5, 2008 | Rating: 3/6 | Full Review…

Tragedies strike and life lessons are learnt, homespun wisdom is dispensed. It's simplistic to the point of total idiocy.

December 5, 2008 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

This fairytale of the civil rights era is all honey and no sting.

December 5, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It's generous-minded, and though it labours awkwardly to move you, that doesn't mean you won't be moved.

December 5, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

A god-awful chick flick about black women bonding in a sugary, never-never South. It should be renamed How to Make an American Wilt (and any other viewer).

December 5, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Secret Life of Bees


Paul Bettany is miscast in his role but Dakota Fanning proves again that she is very talented, only it is frustrating to see a relevant theme such as racism in the South Carolina of 1964 used as a means for a white girl to resolve her personal issues in a sappy, reductive way.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

"The Sweet Life of Bees is a film of sad stories with sad situations. I really enjoyed everyones acting. I had my doubts about Alicia Keys as I do all singers/rappers when they try their hand at acting. She surprised me. I thought she did a great job in her role. I loved Q-Latifah in this. Her character is wise and loving. Just what Lily needed. Lily Owens is a troubled young girl in the search for answers about her mother. Feeling unwanted and abandoned she runs with the one person that shows her kindness and love. Her nanny/housekeeper Rosaleen. Their journey leads to August. From there the mystery of what happened to Lily's mother unravels. I really enjoyed the sad tale and I look forward to reading the book."


Super Reviewer

Complete and utter feel good Oprah trash.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

The Secret Life of Bees Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features