A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Family grapples with loss of emotional closeness and spiritual direction; a troubled mother becomes a thief; a father becomes obsessed with his young daughter's capacity to "connect with God."
Violence & Scariness
Flashbacks of car accident that left one character's parents dead (no bodies, but disturbing fragments of visual/emotional trauma).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate sex scene between parents.
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Brief strong language by father and teenaged son during an argument (f-word).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this drama focuses on a family's gradual, difficult breakdown. It includes several tense family scenes, one harsh argument between father and son (yelling and using the f-word), and the revelation of the mother's mental illness (she's having flashbacks to the harrowing sight of her parents' fatal car crash, and stealing objects from houses she can reach by car and by foot). A young spelling prodigy comes to see not only how words are spelled, but also how to forgive and help her fragile family. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Suffused with loss and longing, Bee Season is often, in single scenes, delicate and moving. This makes its lapses into inelegance almost more intriguing as they clash with the brief close-ups of Eliza's shallow breaths and closed eyes as she goes into trances during spelling bee competitions. Yet the movie depends too much on contrivances, stereotypes, and very slow-on-the-uptake parents and partners. All of which leaves you feeling a step ahead of the narrative, not an ideal position when contemplating spiritual "truths."
As Eliza wins trophies and accolades, she also comes to understand -- and forgive -- her parents' flaws. The movie's themes and images are evocative and sometimes cryptic, raising spiritual and emotional questions, but it tangles up the theme of literalism with plot in ways that are sometimes clunkier than they are poignant or shrewd.
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Our Editors Recommend
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