The Secret Life Of Bees review

An unusual title doesn't make it a winner

Sixties pre-teen Lily (a maturing Dakota Fanning) accidentally shoots her Ma as a child, leaving her with a cruel Southern Pa (a not-that-menacing Paul Bettany) and an aw-shucks voiceover.

She runs away with her cook (Jennifer Hudson, wasted), finding solace with the black, bee-keeping Boatman sisters (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo): a trio of wise, sassy and virtuous gals who speak in inspirational fridge-magnet slogans and live in a quaint gingerbread-like house bursting with warm fuzzies.

Can Lily find the love and acceptance she craves? Um, bear. Woods. You know?

Triple-dipped in honey by Love & Basketball director Gina Prince-Bythewood, this predictable parable is based, naturally, on a bestselling novel (here courtesy of Sue Monk Kidd).

It’ll be way too cloying for most – but the, ahem, bee’s knees for sugar fiends. Probably best enjoyed with a glass of Chardonnay and your cynicism on hold.

Jane Crowther

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