A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes include compassion, empathy, and teamwork. When you're with the one you love, you're never missing out. Even if you're not the same religion, you can still support each other and treat each other like family. One camper assures her fellow campers that "guys like smart girls." A lot of stereotypes about Mormons are introduced in a joking way, and the film shows there's more to the campers (and Mormons) than Lane's preconceived notions.
Positive Role Models
A lot of positive role models here. Lane goes to summer camp when she doesn't want to so she can support her cousin. Although Lane is initially upset with her mother for remarrying, she's willing to give their new life a chance. Brie learns that being right isn't the most important thing and that a good leader doesn't encourage mean-girl behavior. And Sister Nedra teaches Brie the importance of supporting everyone, regardless of their religion.
Violence & Scariness
Lane hits a camper in the face with a snowball, giving her a bloody nose. A missing dog is assumed to have been eaten by a bear. Lane's father dies of cancer, and she deals with the grief of his death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One camper is described as "boy-crazy." Two park rangers are described as "hot," and the girls primp before they come to camp and send them flirtatious looks. A married couple hugs, and a husband gives his wife a kiss on the forehead.
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Mild insults such as "brat" and "spoiled little butt." "Heck," "freakin.'"
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Products & Purchases
References to iPods, iPhones, and iPads, the Hunger Games series, and Groupon.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A champagne toast at a wedding. Lane takes a swig out of a champagne bottle.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Once I Was a Beehive is a comedy about a non-Mormon teenager who goes to a Latter-day Saints summer camp. The film pokes fun at a lot of stereotypes about Mormons and shows that there's more to the campers (and all Mormons) than the preconceived notions held by the main character. But nonreligious viewers may find the focus on faith off-putting. There's not a lot of iffy content here, though adults do drink a champagne toast, and a teenage girl takes a swig out of a champagne bottle. Romance is limited to a kiss between a married couple and some primping and throwing of flirtatious glances at two park rangers deemed "hot" by the campers and camp leaders. There are also some mild insults ("brat" and "spoiled butt"), and a camper gets a bloody nose when she's hit in the face with a snowball. A main character's father dies of cancer, and she has to come to terms with her grief over his death. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It has an abundance of corny religious camp songs and a predictable plot, but this heartfelt comedy manages to be charming with a self-deprecating tone that the heavy-handed messages go down. The main actresses (Paris Warner and Mila Smith) are believable and compelling, even when the dialogue is somewhat cloying. And while the plot isn't new, the film's attempt to show a new side to a much-maligned group is admirable and sometimes quite funny.
While Once I Was a Beehive probably will mostly appeal to a religious (especially Mormon) audience, it has strong messages about tolerance that will appeal to most parents. And families looking for a faith-based movie for tweens will find a lot to like.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.