Tell It To The Bees shoots itself in the foot with its final act

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THIS adaptation of Fiona Shaw’s novel about forbidden sapphic love in the 1950s treads tropes all too familiar and doesn’t do enough with the ample material it has to play with.

Lydia is a Mancunian single mother stuck in an industrial Scottish town supporting her son Charlie after her husband upped sticks and holed up with someone else across the road.

Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger star in new movie drama Tell It to The Bees
Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger star in new movie drama Tell It to The Bees

When Jean arrives to take over her late father’s medical practise, the two spark a relationship that invokes the wrath of all those around them. Their developing love is pitched well – I was rooting for them all the way.

This film crams a hell of a lot in backroom abortions, domestic abuse, homophobia, sexual assault are all mixed into what is essentially a love story, but is a story, I feel, better on page than on screen.

Holliday Grainger is excellent as Lydia and the supporting cast (including Game of Thrones’ terrifically dour Kate Dickie) all bring plenty to the table but for me Anna Paquin’s pretty “Mrs Doubtfire” accent brought me too far out of the story.


This, coupled with a weirdly fantastical final act that is not included in the book in which a swarm of bees are commanded to attack a bad person – WHICH THEY DO TO NO-ONE’S SURPRISE DESPITE THEIR BEING A MUCH SIMPLER SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM – makes a mockery of the slowly developing tensions of the previous two-thirds of the film.

A film that unnecessarily shoots itself in the foot.


Tell It To The Bees (15)

★★★☆☆



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