An adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name by Fiona Shaw, the film screened this past fall at TIFF. Starring familiar faces such as Anna Paquin, Holliday Granger and Kate Dickie, it interweaves a mystical story of a young boy bonding with hives of bees and his mother finding true love with another woman at a time where that was not accepted.
Lydia (Holliday Grainger – My Cousin Rachel, Tulip Fever) is going through a rough patch. Her estranged husband Robert (Emun Elliott – Filth, Prometheus) has decided he wants out of their marriage leaving her and their young son Charlie (Gregor Selkirk – T2 Trainspotting) high and dry. Bad luck does not stop there as they are evicted from their home as she is not able to pay the rent. The final straw is when she is fired from her factory job.
Not sure where to turn to, Lydia is delirious when the new doctor in town, Jean Markham (Anna Paquin – The Squid and the Whale, X-Men), offers her a job as her housekeeper. This includes Lydia and Charlie moving into her spacious house.
All three get along really well with Dr. Markham teaching Charlie all about taking care of the bees she has on the property. The undeniable chemistry between Lydia and Jean begins to take hold of them. When they finally succumb to it, they have to keep it hidden from everyone, including Charlie, as it could result in Lydia losing custody of her son.
Set in rural Scotland in the early 1950s, another example of small town mentality towards same sex love as well as it being a different time period. Things are stacked against Lydia and Jean. The chemistry between Grainger and Paquin is great with them truly making us feel the women falling in love. Then the pain that is felt when two people fall in love and that is not accepted by society at large.
Mixed in with the forbidden love story between two women is the young boy being introduced to the adult world. For a lovely period when we are young we live blissfully ignorant of all the tangled web of adulthood. Suddenly our eyes are opened and we forever change.
Totally has the look and feel like something you would see on the BBC. Slow in pacing, solid acting with an engaging story. A small, well made film.