Once I Was a Beehive

Movie review by
Grace Montgomery, Common Sense Media
Once I Was a Beehive Movie Poster Image
Religious camp comedy is hokey but heartfelt and fun.
  • PG
  • 2015
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


Mild insults such as "brat" and "spoiled little butt." "Heck," "freakin.'"


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.

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysmrchocalate December 20, 2020

I am a widower and this movie touched me.

It is a very good movie that you could watch with family, or your loved one it is not one of those movies that fill in a spot when you're having nothing o... Continue reading
Adult Written bygabarrington December 8, 2019

Excellent and Wholesome

The movie is great for the whole family. It delves into a tough topic - appropriately managing negative emotions, including grief. It’s funny and empowering and... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 11, 2016

Not the best movie ever, just good.

You should see that movie, it is sad and hularious. There are no bad surprises, just a perfect movie to watch for fun.
Kid, 12 years old September 28, 2016

This is coming from a christian (Trust me, read this)

I'm about to turn 13 in October, I Have been to a few of these " religious " camps before with the girls from my church. And I think they captur... Continue reading

What's the story?

In ONCE I WAS A BEEHIVE, a year after Lane's (Paris Warner) father dies of cancer, her mother remarries a Mormon man and leaves Lane with her new step-aunt and step-cousin while she goes on a three-week honeymoon with her new husband. Charmed by her quirky cousin Phoebe (Mila Smith), who suffers from anxiety, Lane finds herself pressured to attend a Mormon girls' camp with her. When Lane arrives, she's convinced she'll have to suffer through a boring week with uptight girls who fulfill all the stereotypes she's heard about Mormons, but as the week progresses, she finds out she has a lot to learn about faith, family, and acceptance.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about empathy in Once I Was a Beehive. How does Lane show empathy for Phoebe? How does she use her experience with her father's death to relate to Phoebe's experiences?

  • Many of the characters show compassion for one another in various ways. How does Nedra show compassion for Lane? How does Lane show compassion for Phoebe? What does Lane teach Brie about compassion?

  • How do the campers show teamwork? What does Brie learn about leadership and being a good leader to her fellow campers?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love faith-based movies

Character Strengths

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