Friday, March 13, 2009
I didn’t love this movie. That makes me a little sad because I really love Queen Latifah and was looking forward to a rich story experience. Having just made the statement that I didn’t love it, I’ll try to share why I didn’t. I haven’t read the complete novel. I began it and was intrigued and caught up, but had borrowed it and needed to return it. Now that I own it, I just haven’t gone back to pick up the story beyond page seventy. The seventy pages I read seemed to mirror what I experienced in the film, so I think the overall life of the story translated well to film.
I found some of the characters to be stereotypical and broken down into clear categories…unflappable, strong, backbone of the family, confused and out-of-control teen, angry, bitter man, overtly helpful white guy, angry woman. May Boatwright (Sophie Okonedo) was the most complex character and added much to the story.
And I think the movie moved a little too fast not giving me a chance to really care about the characters. Not that the drama wasn’t horrific…it was…a sad and senseless accidental death that left a huge hole in Lily’s life (Dakota Fanning), a father who had grown so bitter there wasn’t room in his shriveled heart for his daughter, ugly, brutal racism, lives that were shaped and devastated by the choices of others. The subject matter was hard and awful. This film should’ve sucker punched me. I’m a crier. I cry at happy, sad and poignant scenes in many movies. Even commercials have brought me to tears, yet I didn’t cry during the Secret Life of Bees, and I only teared up once.
In many ways the film is well done. The setting is rich, the cast of actors do a fabulous job portraying the characters shaped by tragedy and pain. It just didn't resonate with me.