Gina Prince-Blythewood’s “The Secret Life of Bees” Film Review

Gina Prince-Blythewood’s “The Secret Life of Bees” is a film based on a novel by Sue Monk Kidd. A little white girl, Lily, escapes from his father T. Ray’s oppressive rules and seeks her dead mother’s past. Soon, she arrives at the Boatwright sisters’ pink house in Tiburon. The Boatwright sisters, August, May, and June, have set up a company called, Black Madonna Honey. Being the head of the company and the eldest sisters, August, insists on keeping Lily in the house and soon guides her into her family. I believe that this film is socially relevant since August functions as a queen bee and uses authority and care to help Lily find internal peace, which shows the importance of a leader in a society.

The Boatwright family members are linked by their unique religion, forming a closed correlated community. In the film, the family and their neighbors believe in the Black Madonna of Breznichar. It is an unusual belief in which they set up their own relic and sacred tools. August’s stories become the religion’s gospel. They perform it in their own way by singing and speaking to one another. Every follower participates in gospel telling, which tightly connects them. Through the religion, they have built a strong relationship with each other, making them seem like bees living in a packed structural hive. When Lily comes to this hive-like colony, she realizes that August is the center leading the whole community.

Being the leader of the Boatwright family, August uses her authority to unify her family. After the death of August’s parents, August becomes the eldest one in the family, with the responsibility of unifying the family. When August’s sister, June, objects Lily to stay in their house, August uses her powers to insist that Lily should stay. Additionally, she teaches her management skills as the head of the Black Madonna Honey company. In their religion, she is in charge of guiding the regular rituals and telling the stories. August’s duty of organizing the meetings makes her seem like the queen bee in a hive.

Employing strong management skills, August unites each member into her small mutually-dependent society.
August uses her authority and love to help the lost girl, Lily. Although August knows Lily’s mother, Deborah, she does not immediately tell Lily about Deborah’s past. August gradually builds up friendship with Lily and waits until she is ready for the truth. Ultimately, Lily learns the truth about her mother from August. Later, August gives Lily Deborah’s belongings and shows her that she was once loved. As Lily learns that she is not an unwanted baby, she starts recovering and modifying her love towards her mother. August then consoles Lily and guides her to attain personal peace.

Lily ultimately becomes one of August’s family members and discovers the love the Boatwright family has for her. August’s role of a queen bee in this closed Black community helps Lily to overcome her past and pains. She thus recovers and works in the hive again. Similarly, human beings need to live in a community with leaders who love and help them, instead of leading lonely lives. One can thus continue to participate and work for the society.