Monday, November 3, 2008
Niantic Matinee: "The Secret Life of Bees" Yesterday afternoon, Sunday, I went to see a movie in Niantic, "The Secret Life of Bees." I knew it was an all star cast with Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Alicia Keyes, Jennifer Hudson, etc. I didn't know anything else about it, just that I had to see it! Older now, I thought Dakota resembled me as a young teenager. With long straight hair, light brown, and wide blue eyes and a serious face, she also wanted to major in English and dreamed of being a writer! In the opening scene, I thought a disturbing movie was to follow. But it turned out to be a beautiful movie. In the opening scene, she shoots her young mother, who is engaged in a fight with her father, who is shouting, "You can't leave me!" You don't ever understand if it is really intentional. She meets up with a black woman, Jennifer Hudson, who stands up for herself and is beaten up for not apologizing, by two white men. But lives to escape with Dakota Fanning in tow. She says that apologizing would have been a worse way of dying. The two unlikely friends are able to persuade a family of black women to take them in, where Hudson works for pay in the kitchen and Fanning becomes a paid beekeeper, where she is eventually able to fall in love with a young black man. Although her initial, overwhelming need for love at first scares him a bit. She says she wishes she could be loved more than anything else in the world. The movie is about healing. Where, if you find yourself in a family who doesn't accept you for who you really are, or understand you, all your life, "leaving" them can be the best thing. "Leaving them," moving on, to find another "family" who accepts you as their own. Wondering all her life why her mother left her and her father abused her. Her father appears in the end, trying to take her back from her newly acquired family. She asks him why her mother really came back. He tells her that her mother was coming back to take her, not her father, and that he couldn't take it, that her mother chose her daughter over him. One of the black women in the movie finally takes Fanning and sits her down. She was Fanning's mother's nanny. She says that "no love is perfect." She shows Fanning photos of her mother and trinkets which used to be her mother's. She shows Fanning a photo of her and her mother together, looking into each other's eyes and smiling. This is where the healing finally takes place. She looks back at this woman with tears of thanks in her eyes, knowing she really was loved. She learns to accept her new "family" of three mothers! (Think: the book of "Job," losing it all to gain back more than you ever had before: health, friends, family, etc., etc. -- "I have come that you may have Life and have it more abundantly.") Strangely this photo reminded me of another photo which was "coughed" out of Paula's house last Valentine's Day. The house was being renovated last winter and the interiors "gutted." As I walked up the steep hill alongside her house, Konomoc, I saw a page of photographs on the ground. Black and white. As I picked it up, the face of a small blonde girl stared back at me. Paula's face!! Curious and wise, even at a young age. Feline, as well. "That's her! I know it is!" I said to one of the workers. Photos filled both sides of a black page. All black and white. The young one of Paula. And several photos which had to be, beyond a doubt, Paula and her mother. Throughout our friendship, Paula confided to me that her mother tried to kill her and she had to live with her grandparents on a farm for a while. That her mother was "going through the change." If you look into her mother's eyes in some of the photos, you can see the signs of madness. Paula said she always wanted to be a nurse, but her mother just laughed at her. That even now, she swore her mother ruined her life! (Paula had a "succession" of jobs throughout most of her life, just like I have!) Never-the-less, here she was, on Valentine's Day, presented to me, in a "two shot:" "Baby" Paula, in a plaid coat, looking shyly into her mother's adoring eyes.