Differing with Hanke

I get a lot of good advice about movies from Ken Hanke, but I have to say that his commentary on Queen Latifah and the whole ensemble making up the current film version of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees [Xpress, Oct. 22] falls short of the mark. I had just seen the film the very day I read his review, and I felt sad that all my 40-, 50- and 60-year-old girlfriends might not feel encouraged to go see this delightful rendering of an unusually poignant and precious story.

C’mon, Ken! The story is told by a 14-year-old girl, and it is the 14-year-old girl in me who loves it, with all the passion and inexcusable melodrama only a teenage girl wouldn’t be too embarrassed to feel. I fear that in our sophistication and detachment from the tenderest of feelings, we will lose our ability to identify with the vulnerability and simplicity of the world as seen and felt through young eyes and hearts.

Fanning’s Lily is wholly believable, and her versions of the Boatwright sisters shouldn’t have to satisfy our in-depth, existentialist interest in each character’s personality. It’s Lily’s story, after all, so the people we meet through it can only have the characteristics that stand out to her.

I think Mr. Hanke has missed the point of view of this film. The facets of mentorship that the sisters represent make Ms. Prince-Bythewood’s rendering more of an Everywoman’s tale, told in rural, ‘60s, South Carolina lingo, but resonating a chord in the soul of every woman-to-be. I look forward to purchasing a copy of the video and keeping it around for the upcoming generations to see.

— Arjuna da Silva
Black Mountain

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One thought on “Differing with Hanke

  1. Ken Hanke

    I appreciate the comments, but I wouldn’t say I gave the movie a negative review. After all, I ended by saying, “But all in all, Bees gets more right than wrong, making it worth a look.” In fact, I spent a good deal of the review defending the film against its detractors. It certainly was not my intention to try to dissuade anyone from seeing it.

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