THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES
False Idol Worship
Release Date: October 17, 2008
Starring: Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning,
Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keyes,
Sophie Okonedo, Paul Bettany,
Nate Parker, and Tristan Wilds
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 110 minutes
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Executive Producer: Jada Pinkett Smith
Producer: Lauren Shuler Donner, James
Lassiter, Will Smith, and Joe
Writer: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Address Comments To:Peter Rice, President
Fox Searchlight Pictures
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg. 38
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000
Fax: (310) 369-2359
The story opens in North Carolina with a young married couple having a fight. The man, T Ray, looks like he’s ready to get violent, so the wife pulls out a gun. T Ray knocks the gun away, but the couple’s four-year-old daughter, Lily, picks up the gun. Lily tries to give it back to her mother, but the gun goes off, killing Lily’s mother in the process.
Ten years later, 14-year-old Lily lives under the thumb of her father, who clearly does not care for her. Lily has befriended the family’s black maid, Rosaleen. One day, while Lily and Rosaleen are walking to town, some racist white males confront Rosaleen. When Rosaleen refuses to back down, the white males beat her up, putting her into the hospital.
Lily sneaks into the hospital. Together, she and Rosaleen run away to the North Carolina hometown of Lily’s mother. As luck would have it, they run into August Boatright, the mother’s black nanny. August and her sisters, June and May, run a popular honey farm. Eventually, the secrets of the past come out. Racism rears its ugly head again, however, when Lily becomes interested in the black teenager who helps August tend the bees and comb their honey.
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES lays on its righteous indignation against racism a little too thickly. The white Southern males are portrayed to be almost as dumb and venal as they possibly can be. Conversely, on the complete opposite side of the racial divide, the black women are portrayed to be as wise, loving, courageous, and spiritually connected as they possibly can be. This is pretty one-dimensional, to say the least.
Even worse, however, is the heresy in the movie. Lily learns that August, her sisters and their friends treat a wooden, African American carving of the Virgin Mary like a spiritual totem or talisman. The women pray to the carving in their hours of need. Thus, instead of worshipping Jesus Christ, these women seem to worship this pagan idol carved by the hand of man. This heresy is confirmed at the end when Lily writes in her diary that the Virgin Mary is “inside” of her. Effectively, the filmmakers have replaced Jesus Christ and His Gospel with a pseudo-Christian, neo-feminist religion.
This is rank heresy. Such false pagan doctrines are clearly abhorrent. They directly contradict the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The need to make a feminist idol out of the Virgin Mary when Jesus Christ is sufficient for our salvation and our sanctification is itself a sexist ideology. The biblical truth is entirely different, however. Mary actually calls God her Savior in Luke 1:46-55, showing that people should look to God through Jesus Christ rather than anyone else for their salvation. In fact, Mary explicitly says in Luke that the blessings she has received are because of God and the “great” things He has done for her. Venerating or admiring the Virgin Mary is not a problem. Worshipping her and replacing Jesus Christ with a false depiction of Mary that violates the historical record is, however, wrong. All Christians should reject and condemn such obvious heresy. The movie’s heresies could easily have been fixed by getting rid of the last line of dialogue, adding positive references to Jesus Christ, and inserting positive references to a regular Christian church, including perhaps a Roman Catholic one where the Virgin Mary is put into a proper, more orthodox perspective.
It is telling that THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES not only contains pagan heresy; it also contains a significant number of profanities misusing the name of God and the name of Jesus Christ. This shows how careless, mindless and evil the filmmakers have become in promoting their fuzzy, heretical theology in what is, sadly, another lame “chick flick” for former child star Dakota Fanning.
THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES lays on its righteous indignation against white racism a bit too thickly. The white Southern males are almost portrayed as dumb and mean as they possibly can be. Even worse is the heresy the movie teaches. Lily eventually learns that the Boatwright sisters and their female friends pray to a wooden, Africanized carving of the Virgin Mary. Then, after the movie’s happy resolution, Lily says that the Virgin Mary is “inside” her. Effectively, the filmmakers have replaced Jesus Christ with Mary. This is an abhorrent, offensive heresy.