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The Secret Life of Bees 

The subject matter of this movie, which is set in segregated South Carolina in the ’60s, isn’t exactly kids’ stuff. Raised by an abusive father, Lily (Dakota Fanning) runs away from home with her caretaker Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) and eventually ends up meeting the honey-making Boatwright sisters, an African-American family led by the matriarchal August Boatwright (Queen Latifah), a proud woman whose thriving beekeeping business has given them an usual amount of autonomy. August and her sisters June (Alicia Keys) and May (Sophie Okonedo) struggle to protect Lily from her abusive father as well as from the racist locals who don’t like the fact that a white girl is living with an African-American family. Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball), who also adapted the book, went to great lengths to make sure the film was realistic. And it shows. The film works equally well as chick flick and period piece. HHH

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