The Secret Life of Bees

Synopsis: Set in South Carolina in 1964, this is the tale of Lily Owens, a 14 year-old girl who is haunted by the memory of her late mother. To escape her lonely life and troubled relationship with her father T-Ray, Lily flees with Rosaleen, her caregiver and friend, to a South Carolina town that holds the secret to her mother's past. Taken in by the intelligent and independent Boatwright sisters, Lily finds solace in their mesmerizing world of beekeeping.
Genre: Drama
Production: Fox Searchlight
  12 wins & 16 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
114 min

[Footsteps Shuffling]

[Objects Clattering]




- Where you been?

- I'm sorry. I'm sorry, T.

- Are you cheating on me?

- No, no! I'm not cheating on you.

- What...

- Stop it! What are you doing?

- T! Stop it!

- You ain't leaving me!

- Who is it?

- Nobody! It's you! I hate you!

T. Ray, just let me go!

- [T. Ray, Indistinct]

- No!

T. Ray, damn it!

Get off me!



[Lily Narrating]

I killed my mother when I was four years old.

That's what I knew about myself.

She was all I wanted,

and I took her away.

Nothin' else much mattered.


[Buzzing Continues]

[T. Ray Snoring]

- T. Ray!

- What?

There's bees in my room!

Hundreds of' em! You've gotta see!

- What is it? Jesus Christ, Lily.

- They're in my room! Come see.


Goddamn it, Lily.

This ain't funny.

But they were here.

They were flyin' everywhere.

You wake me again,

I'm gonna get out the grits.

You hear me?

Goddamn it.

[Lily Narrating]

The bees came the summer of'64...

The summer I turned 14 and my whole life

went spinnin' off into a whole new orbit.

Lookin' back on it,

I wanna say they were sent to me.

I wanna say they showed up like

the Angel Gabriel appearing to the Virgin Mary.

I know it's forward to compare

my small life to hers...

but I have good reason

to believe she wouldn't mind.

So, um, my birthday is tomorrow.

- [Utensils Clatter]

- Most girls want...

one of them little silver charm bracelets

they have down at the mercantile.

Think I'm the only girl in junior high

doesn't have one.

But I was just thinking you could tell me

about my mother instead.

All you ever said is she's from Virginia

and she's an only child like I am.

I don't even know what

her favorite food was...

and what she liked

to do and...nothin;

- You wanna know about your mama?

- Yeah.


She used to spend hours

lurin' roaches and whatnot...

out of the house with graham crackers

and marshmallows.


Swear to God.

She was a lunatic about savin' bugs.

[Door Closes]

Here you go.

Hey, Lily! Nice ass!





Look at this thing fight.

- What you doin' with that?

- Catching bees to show T. Ray.

He thinks I'm making it up.

Get yourself stung,

don't come cryin' to me.

- Come fix this.

- For the future... [Indistinct]

What'd they do?

Drop the atom bomb or somethin'?


It does say that there are those

who are equal before God...

shall now also be equal

in the polling booths...

in the classrooms,

in the factories...

and in hotels and restaurants

and movie theaters...

Holy sh*t.

And other places that provide

service to the public.


Today, July the 2nd, 1964...

President Johnson signed

the Civil Rights bill into law.

Fifteen, 16, 17, 18...

When's my hair gonna

look like yours?

I bet mine used to drive you crazy the way

it goes off in 11 wrong directions.

I bet you used to brush it a hundred times a day

just to get it to lay down.

I bet you did.

- [T. Ray] Lily!

- [Panting]



- Who you out here with?

- What?

- Who's out there?

- Nobody. There's no one here but me. It's just me.

Get up from there.

Get in here.

No! You think you're grown? Huh?

Out there doing God knows what.

You'll get yourself pregnant

and then what? Huh?



[Bottle Cap Falls To Floor]

You can go.


How long your dad

keep you on these grits?



Look at ya.

Happy birthday.

I didn't know you made me a cake.

Of course I did.

It's your birthday.

- How big a piece you want?

- Real big.

[Door Closes]

You should be in the stand already.

It's a big peach day.

- Takin' her to town with me.

- What for?

She needs a training bra.

She gots to get measured.

How much something like that cost?

Happy birthday.


So what's in town anyway?

I'm registerin' to vote.

Rosaleen, news said a colored man in Mississippi

was killed for doing that.

Good thing we ain't

in Mississippi then.

I saw you scribblin' one of your stories

in the stand yesterday.

Go on. Tell it.

All right.

So The Supremes,

they're heading down Highway 4...

because they're going to Charleston

for a real big concert.

But suddenly, their back tire blows up...

and they go skiddin' across the road

and into a ditch.

So then two are saying

that Diana's burnin' the peach cobbler.

But she blocks the oven and she says, "I'm the

lead singer, and it's done when I say it's done."

So I don't know what to do.

The Supremes are having a fight in my kitchen.

- But then suddenly we hear...

- Hey.

Ain't you Terence Ray's little girl?

Yes, sir. Lily.

Daddy know you out here with her?

Rosaleen works for us.

Whole lot of n*ggers been

coming through here today.

You wouldn't be going to

that secret meetin', would ya?

Well, hell, we ain't gotta

worry about this one.

Can't register to vote

if you can't write your own name.

Tell me, Lily. She a smart n*gger

or a dumb n*gger?

- Please, mister, we really need...

- Answer me, girl.




- Rosaleen! Stop! [Screams]

- Put her there!




Stop! No!

- Apologize!

- [Lily] Rosaleen, just apologize!

Help! Somebody help!

- Quiet.

- [Sobbing]

- Can somebody help?

- Apologize.


Your black ass gonna apologize

one way or the other.

Rosaleen. Rosaleen.

- [Chattering]

- [Police Radio Chatter]

Rate this script:5.0 / 1 vote

Gina Prince-Bythewood

Gina Prince-Bythewood is an American film director and screenwriter. She is known for directing and producing the films Disappearing Acts and Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, and Beyond the Lights. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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