The Secret Life Of Bees

DVD Rating: ***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Mike Davies's film review of The Secret Life Of Bees
The Secret Life Of Bees

Even the most hardened cynic is likely to crumble under the weight of the life affirmation and sisterhood contained in the plethora of extras presented here. On a technical level, this is the bee's knees, with everything - including all the extras and commentary - fully subtitled. There is also an audio descriptive track.

Of the two commentary tracks on offer, the first - featuring Gina Prince-Bythewood, prodcuers Lauren Shuler Donner and Joe Pichirallo, and actors Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah - is by far the most interesting and enjoyable. Essentially a 'girls' night in' affair, Pichirallo confines his comments almost exclusively to the male characters, whether by choice or design. This is not a bad thing as it balances out the sisters doing it for themselves.

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It's a pleasant enough run through the film, with plenty of anecdotes about injuries sustained by Dakota (seemingly about one a day, given how many she outlines, including a squashed foot and a cut hand) the perils of shooting a summer film in January (ice-chewing was a necessity to prevent their breath steaming) and the difficulties of finding the right shade of paint for The Pink House (it had to be done three times).

The second commentary, featuring Prince-Bythewood and editor Terilyn Shropshire holds a little technical interest, including consideration of things such as set dressing and music cues, but is a much drier affair that frequently covers the same ground as the first commentary but with less spring in its step.

Each of the eight deleted scenes, some incredibly brief, feature commentary by Rince-Bythewood and Shropshire. Naturally, they were all "very difficult to lose".

The package is rounded out with a series of featurettes. The Women And Men Of The Secret Life Of Bees is the usual cast love-in, with each talking about their character, although it does include some making of footage as well as scenes from the film. Life On The Set, is probably the best of the bunch, focussing on shooting of scenes involving the garden hose and also sees the cast talk about watching Alicia Keyes at the Superbowl. Adaptation: Bringing The Secret Life of Bees To The Big Screen does what it says on the tin but, as with Life On The Set, has a lot of crossover with the commentary tracks.

The World Premiere is just that, while finally, Inside The Pink House With Sue Monk Kidd, sees the author have something of a Lloyd Grossman Through The Keyhole moment on the film's set. While not quite saying: "Now, who would live in a house like this..?" it's still pretty perfunctory and will probably only be of interest to serious completists.

All in all a perfectly competent set of extras but nothing that is an absolutely 'must watch'.

Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2009
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The Secret Life Of Bees packshot
A young girl, escaping from her tyrannical father in Civil Rights era South Carolina, finds a very different surrogate family.
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Product Code: 024543556329

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Two commentary tracks, deleted scenes, Life On The Set, The World Premiere, Inside The Pink House With Sue Monk Kidd, Adaptation: Bringing The Secret Life of Bees To The Big Screen, The Women And Men Of The Secret Life Of Bees

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