The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Bee Season

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Judy Thorburn

"Bee Season" - Is A Spell-Binding, Mystical Experience

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“BEE SEASON” – IS A SPELL-BINDING, MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE

There’s more to Bee Season than meets the eye. On the surface is a story about a little girl with a special gift that helps her advance to the National Spelling Bee Finals competition. Yet, it is far from being another Searching for Bobby Fisher. Both films are about child prodigies, but that is where the comparison ends.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Bee Season, Spelling Bee, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth, Joan Mankin, Myla Goldberg

Bee Season, written by Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal (Maggie and Jake’s mom) and directed by Scott McGehee and David Siegel (The Deep End) from Myla Goldberg’s novel of the same name, offers much more than that by exploring how letters and words hold a key to the mystical connection with God and how we have the power to restore what has been shattered, which is ancient Jewish concept referred to as Tikkun Olam.

Richard Gere, a Buddhist in real life, plays Saul Naumann, a  Berkeley professor of Jewish theology specializing in spiritual mysticism of the Kabbalah, a study to which he is faithfully obsessed.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Bee Season, Spelling Bee, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth, Joan Mankin, Myla Goldberg

At home his attention is focused mainly on Hebrew studies with his musically gifted teenage son, Aaron (Max Minghella, son of director Anthony Minghella) rather than paying attention to his younger daughter Eliza (a noteworthy debut by Flora Cross) or noticing that his scientist wife, Miriam (Juliette Binoche, Chocolate) has been steadily descending into madness.

After Ellie wins the local spelling bee, Saul’s attention is diverted to her, causing the sensitive child to feel guilty about the ensuing disintegration of the family bonds. But, Saul seeing that his daughter has a unique ability to get into a trancelike state where she is able to visualize letters forming into words in her head, believes that with his guidance in learning to understand the sacred teachings of a Jewish mystic, Ellie is capable of connecting to the “Ear of God”, something only a rare few can achieve.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Bee Season, Spelling Bee, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth, Joan Mankin, Myla Goldberg

Aaron, as a result from feeling left on the sidelines, rebels by exploring other spiritual paths, and after meeting a beautiful disciple named Chali (Kate Bosworth) becomes a Hare Krishna. Meanwhile, a mentally unstable Miriam, who as a young girl experienced the tragic deaths of her parents in a car accident, has been taking her husband’s words literally. By breaking into strangers’ homes stealing pieces of glass and prisms, enough to fill a large storage unit she hopes to restore the shattered pieces of her life.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Bee Season, Spelling Bee, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth, Joan Mankin, Myla Goldberg

Bee Season is a movie that tackles lofty concepts in an interesting manner. But, at the heart is a story that revolves around our quest for both a spiritual connection to a higher power and the need for personal connections with loved ones. Kaleidoscopic images are used as metaphors to convey the fragmented and disconnected family as well as the fractured light and pieces needed to come together for unity with God. Dazzling CGI effects are implemented to show the manner in which Ellie visualizes letters coming to life and swirling around in her mind before forming into correctly spelled words.

The one problem with the script is that I have trouble believing that in all their twenty years of marriage or before, Saul did not notice any sign of his wife’s degenerating mental state.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Bee Season, Spelling Bee, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth, Joan Mankin, Myla Goldberg

Other than that, Bee Season is a compelling, thought provoking film filled with excellent performances from all.  Gere, as in Unfaithful, once again comes to the bat, proving what an underrated actor he is as the religious scholar, and family patriarch. Eventually, I would like to see Gere receive the recognition he deserves. I doubt it will be this year since there is Oscar buzz surrounding other magnificent male performances.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Bee Season, Spelling Bee, Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche, Flora Cross, Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth, Joan Mankin, Myla Goldberg

I hope Bee Season gets the audience it deserves. I have faith that the movie and its message won’t be lost, and the Bee Season will be seen by filmgoers. I am doing my best to get the buzz out.