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"BEE SEASON"
(2005) (Flora Cross, Richard Gere) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Moderate Mild None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor Mild Minor None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Heavy Moderate Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A religious studies professor realizes too late that his family is falling apart as his young daughter makes her way toward competing in the National Spelling Bee competition.
PLOT:
Saul Naumann (RICHARD GERE) is a religions studies professor in Oakland who's fascinated with the teachings and secrets of Kabbalah. Thus, when his sixth-grade daughter, Eliza (FLORA CROSS), seems to be channeling some sort of supernatural force that's allowing her to win at local spelling bees, he suddenly becomes enamored with helping her strengthen her gift that he believes is a pathway directly to God.

With his attention now focused solely on her for seemingly the first time in his life, he doesn't recognize his wife Miriam's (JULIETTE BINOCHE) growing depression and worsening mental instability. Still affected by a past traumatic event where she lost her parents in a car accident, she's progressively spending more of her time away from the house and lurking about others' homes, looking for something she thinks might fix everything in her life.

At the same time and now no longer the focus of his father's attention, older son Aaron (MAX MINGHELLA) begins to question his religious beliefs, a point that makes him vulnerable to the alluring Chali (KATE BOSWORTH), a Hare Krishna whose messages seem to mesh with what he's experiencing. As Eliza continues her winning ways through the various levels of spelling bees, her family unit begins to unravel as its various members search for meaning and answers in their lives.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're into spelling bees or are fans of someone in the film, it doesn't seem too likely that many will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For thematic elements, a scene of sensuality and brief strong language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • RICHARD GERE plays a religions studies professor who's obsessed with his work and sees his daughter's success and gift as a way for him to further explore his obsession with Kabbalah. While doing so, however, he's blinded to his family falling apart until it's too late to fix things. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • JULIETTE BINOCHE plays his more reserved wife who progressively spirals downward into depression and mental instability as she tries to find a way to fix things in her life, an issue that stems back to the loss of her parents in a car accident sometime in the past.
  • FLORA CROSS plays their sixth-grade daughter who's found a way to channel seemingly supernatural powers that allow her to see the letters of the words she needs to spell in a series of increasingly high profile spelling bees. Otherwise, she's quite reserved in her behavior.
  • MAX MINGHELLA plays her older brother who begins to question his religion beliefs and then tries to break free from his dad after meeting Chali and experiencing her beliefs. He briefly uses strong profanity.
  • KATE BOSWORTH plays an alluring Hare Krishna who tries to help Aaron see the light, at least as viewed through her mindset and beliefs.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 2 "f" words, but only a handful of other expletives and colorful phrases. A married couple is partially seen having sex in several sensual scenes (subdued movement, sound sounds, and non-explicit nudity) and some characters are seen shirtless (the woman from behind). Tense family and thematic elements include strained family dynamics and a parent having a mental breakdown and its effect on the kids.

    Some bad attitudes are present, there's brief alcohol and tobacco use, and a few scenes might startle or be unsettling to some viewers. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, shots viewing Miriam making turns in her car (where she's still but the background is whipping or spinning around behind her through the window) might have that affect on some viewers.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see what looks like a bottle of wine out on a balcony.
  • Saul and Miriam have wine in front of them with dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • After Saul finds Miriam asleep at the table, he says she's bleeding (around her hairline) but we didn't see any blood (although Eliza later comments on that to Aaron).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some may view Saul as being too strong in his desire to help coach Eliza for her upcoming contests and/or in using her to achieve his own success.
  • Aaron becomes a little jealous (not spoken, but seen in his face) of the attention Eliza is getting from their dad.
  • Aaron lies to his parents about going camping with a club when he's really going to spend that time with Chali and doing the Hare Krishna thing.
  • We learn, as does Saul, that Miriam has been stealing from other homes in creating elaborate mobiles in a rented warehouse spot (all due to a mental breakdown).
  • Saul and Aaron get into a verbal fight over the latter's activities, with Aaron telling his dad that he (Saul) is the one who's sick, not Miriam. Eliza overhears them fighting from another room and wants them to stop.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some of the brief and partially seen flashback images of a car crash scene right after the incident might be unsettling for anyone who's experienced the same in person or via someone they know.
  • Of some writing he says can allow the user to contact God, Saul tells Eliza that if they go too fast with it, it could be dangerous (but nothing ever comes of this).
  • Using the above book of powerful verse, Eliza tries to communicate with God and goes through a spiritual/psychological journey that briefly seems to levitate her off the floor before she collapses onto it where she then has various convulsions (while we see the psychedelic representation of what she's experiencing). The next morning, Aaron finds her lying asleep on the floor and when she wakes up, she has slight double-vision but is otherwise okay.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You do not f*cking control me" and "Go to your f*cking room."
  • It's possible the film could inspire some teens to look into other religions/beliefs.
  • The film could inspire some kids to become interested in spelling bees.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • As Miriam sits in the car with her head resting on the steering wheel, a child's ball suddenly hits her car, startling her.
  • Some sudden, scary music plays as a dog suddenly lunges at a house window at night as Miriam peers inside.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Some sudden, scary music plays as a dog suddenly lunges at a house window at night as Miriam peers inside.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "f" words, 1 "s" word and 1 use each of "God" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see Aaron in just a towel.
  • We see Miriam undressing (nothing seen), with Saul singing he's "Got two tickets to paradise," but she says she's tired and nothing else happens.
  • We see Aaron sitting shirtless while meditating.
  • We see a quick and partial flashback shot of Miriam and Saul rolling around, presumably having sex. We see some bare skin, but nothing explicit.
  • We then see her go up to Saul in the present, hug and kiss him, nuzzle his neck and then see the motion of her undoing his pants (although we don't see down there). He then picks her up and sits down with her on his lap and they then have sex that way. We see subdued movement and hear sexual sounds leading to their climaxing, but don't see any nudity.
  • We see another quick and partial flashback shot of Miriam and Saul rolling around in an embrace where nothing explicit is seen.
  • Miriam undresses and we see the back of her bra as she's turned away from the camera. She then removes her bra, but the scene is then a head and shoulders shot and we don't see anything explicit.
  • We briefly see the form of Miriam's nipples from beneath her top in one scene.
  • Saul jokingly asks Aaron if he sacrificed any virgins on his camping trip (that really wasn't a camping trip).
  • SMOKING
  • A cop briefly smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Eliza tells Aaron that their dad doesn't care about her competing in the local spelling bee competition, stating that he didn't say anything (she slid the school letter under his office door, unknowingly into a stack of other papers that he apparently did not read). She later confronts Saul about this and he apologizes for not knowing but shows that he's quite proud of her.
  • We hear that Miriam went to boarding school and Eliza then asks if she was there when "they" (presumably her parents) died and Miriam said she was.
  • Aaron becomes a little jealous (not spoken, but seen in his face) of the attention Eliza is getting from their dad.
  • With Miriam acting weirder by the moment and being gone long hours during the day and night, this puts a strain on the family, especially for Saul who tells her that he doesn't know what she's doing or where she's been (she just walks away when he says that).
  • We see another quick and partial flashback view of a previous car wreck where the car is turned on its side and a woman (presumably Miriam) finds some broken eyeglasses (presumably that of one of her parents who we later figure out were killed in the wreck).
  • Eliza tells Aaron that their mom has been gone all day and didn't take the car, thus worrying Eliza.
  • Saul gets a call, starts to tell his kids something about their mother and then says he'll call when he learns something.
  • We learn, as does Saul, that Miriam has been stealing from other homes in creating elaborate mobiles in a rented warehouse spot.
  • Saul cries when he learns that Miriam has a psychological problem.
  • Saul visits Miriam in a mental hospital where she says he just talks and talks but that it's all just empty words.
  • Eliza blurts out that it's her fault that her mother is sick (Saul reassures her that's not the case).
  • Saul and Aaron get into a verbal fight over the latter's activities, with Aaron telling his dad that he (Saul) is the one who's sick, not Miriam. Eliza overhears them fighting from another room and wants them to stop.
  • Aaron tells Eliza that their dad needs her competing in the spelling bee for the attention and control.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Mental breakdowns.
  • Strained family relationships.
  • Spelling bees.
  • Kabballah.
  • Saul says the word apple holds the history of its use and transformation (pertaining to its spelling, etc.) over the eons within its letters.
  • We hear that Miriam went to boarding school and Eliza then asks if she was there when "they" (presumably her parents) died and Miriam said she was.
  • Aaron becomes a little jealous (not spoken, but seen in his face) of the attention Eliza is getting from their dad.
  • Chali, who's now a Hare Krishna, says she was raised Catholic but now finds the rituals empty. Aaron then says that his mom was Catholic, but converted to Judaism for Saul.
  • Chali is a vegetarian.
  • We learn, as does Saul, that Miriam has been stealing from other homes in creating elaborate mobiles in a rented warehouse spot.
  • Saul visits Miriam in a mental hospital where she says he just talks and talks but that it's all just empty words.
  • Eliza blurts out that it's her fault that her mother is sick (Saul reassures her that's not the case).
  • That Eliza purposefully blows an answer so that she's able to communicate through the TV cameras to her mom in the mental hospital and it seems to work (although nothing immediately comes of that).
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see very brief and partial, flashback images of glass breaking and a car on its side (and later figure out that Miriam's parents were killed in the car wreck, but we don't see any of that part).



  • Reviewed November 1, 2005 / Posted November 18, 2005

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