Just finished reading The Secret Life of Bees last week after seeing the movie the week before. Here’s what I think:
Book: Very good. I’m not a fan of the fact that Sue Monk Kidd is partial to including tedious details that lend nothing to the story or imagery (frankly, I don’t need to know the toilet seat is moving underneath Rosaleen). Aside from that, I think the book is really a good story of truly interesting characters. I definitely recommend it. Having said that . . .
Movie: Awful. Though I like all of the ladies in the cast, they all fell horribly short in this one. Not only was the screenplay seriously lacking crucial details from the book, the acting was, at best, mediocre. Since typically Latifah, Fanning, and Okonedo are awesome in anything, I’ve got to look at the director as the culprit. Additionally, vocally speaking, Hudson and Keys are truly phenomenal, but neither should be acting without a little more training. Both performances were stiff and not particularly believable (something I’ve seen three times now from Hudson). I was so disappointed in the movie, I almost didn’t want to finish reading the book. I persevered however, thankfully, so my Bees experience ended on a positive note.
Final thought: Read the book, skip the movie. If you’re hard headed and must see the movie, see it before reading the book. :)