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The Secret Life of Bees [2008] [PG-13] - 3.5.4



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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Unable to deal with living with her father (Paul Bettany) any longer, a 14-year-old girl (Dakota Fanning) and her African-American caregiver (Jennifer Hudson) run away to the honey farm of the Boatwright sisters (Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys). While trying to figure out what to do next, she learns some lessons about life and love. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. [1:50]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A man and a woman kiss. A young man and a young woman kiss. A teenage boy and a teenage girl kiss.
 A teenage boy puts honey on his finger and a teenage girl licks it off, they look at each other with interest and appear startled by what they are feeling; then they go back to work.
 A teenage girl kisses a teenage boy on the cheek (he seems shocked). A young man and a young woman flirt, he tries to convince her to dance with him, and he picks her up and swings her around.
 We see a man wearing boxer shorts and a tank T-shirt. A teenage girl unbuttons her top and places a photograph on her bare abdomen, her father finds her buttoning her top and assumes that she has been with a boy and punishes her.
 A young woman tells a man that his teenage daughter needs to be measured for a training bra.
 A woman makes a "candlestick salad" and a banana protrudes from a pineapple slice and is topped with a cherry in such a way that it looks phallic.

VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - People search for a woman who has gone missing in a forest and she is found dead in a pond with a heavy rock on her chest that holds her under water.
 A husband grabs his wife by the arm and shoves her while they argue; the wife finds a gun, he grabs her, the gun falls to the floor, a young girl picks the gun up and we hear a gunshot (a voiceover tells us that the woman was killed by the gunshot).
 A man slaps a young woman hard in the face, then three men force her to the ground, demand an apology and they punch her in the face (we see her with bruises and a bandage on her head in a hospital later). A man slaps his teenage daughter hard across the face, and then grabs her by the hair to take her back home with him. A man forces his teenage daughter to kneel on a pile of dry grits on the floor for an hour (we see her sore and bloody knees the next day). Several men grab a teenage boy by the arm and force him out of a movie theater; the boy is not heard from for some time and people fear that he may be seriously hurt (we see him later with a bruised face). A father and daughter argue bitterly, and he raises his hand as she cowers on the bed.
 A young man and a young woman argue and he leaves very angry, and she throws apples at his car as he drives away. A teenage girl throws many jars filled with honey against a shed door (the jars shatter and the honey slowly dribbles down the wall). A teenage girl cries and collapses.
 People grieve at a woman's funeral (we see the casket and grave). A woman talks about her twin sister dying when they were infants. A man is angry, abusive and bitter throughout the movie. A teenage girl tells her father that she hates him.
 A teenage girl sprays a young woman with water, she becomes angry chases the girl, sprays her with water and they fall on the ground laughing. A woman instructs a teenage girl on bee tending and we see many bees in hives and buzzing in the air around them. A teenage girl sits in her bed and sees many bees circling around her head (she does not seem to be afraid), and she runs to the next room to wake up her father.
 We see a large stitched wound on a young woman's forehead.
 A teenage girl vomits (we see goo and hear gagging and splatter). A man crushes a cockroach under his shoe (we hear the crunch).

PROFANITY 4 - 4 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, 13 derogatory terms for African-Americans, name-calling (lunatic, selfish, coward, idiot, dumb), 5 religious profanities, 7 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man drinks alcohol and appears drunk.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Abandonment, bitterness, regret, grief, the Civil Rights Bill, President Lyndon Johnson, racism, brutality, equality, voter rights, death of a sibling, bravery, forgiveness, depression, mother's love, death of a twin, death of a parent, slavery, bee keeping, honey making, twins, the Wailing Wall.

MESSAGE - Everything wants to be loved.

Special Keywords: S3 - V5 - P4 - MPAAPG-13

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