Dakota Fanning, we were positive, was about two-years away from going all Drew Barrymore on us and ending up passed out in a gutter from a three day coke binge. But that was like five-years ago when the preternatural actress first began to annoy us in movies. Since then, we’ve given up on our animosity towards her (there’s always Abigail Breslin!) and have begun to appreciate her considerable acting talents for what they are.
Fanning stars in the adaptation of Sue Monk Kidd’s 2002 bestseller The Secret Life of Bees. The story follows an orphaned southern girl, Lily Owens, played by Fanning and her black caregiver (Jennifer Hudson) as they end up on a successful beekeeping farm owned by the Boatwrights, who happen to be three eccentric sisters with ties to Lily’s mother (Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okonedo). While the secret to Lily’s past and her mother’s death lie right under her nose the drama unfolds as the friction between the whites in the community and the Boatwrights increase.
Sentimentalism and cultural understanding no doubt ensue. We’re suckers for these types of stories, however, and the book is supposed to be outstanding. Mom Oyster, herself an astute judge of cultural works of great significance, is quite fond of this Southern Gothic novel and recommends it highly.
The Secret Life of Bees hits theaters on Oct. 17.