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Ciné Sunday: Tell It To The Bees

Annabel Jankel

Based on the novel by Fiona Shaw, Tell It To The Bees is a story of courage in the face of intolerance. Directed by Annabel Jankel, this tender period drama, set in a small post-war Scottish town, depicts the emergence of a love that both rescues two women from isolation and places them in danger.

"A story of courage in the face of intolerance..."

Abandoned by her philandering husband, Lydia (Holliday Grainger) is in an increasingly desperate situation: emotional turmoil aside, her earnings from factory work are not enough to pay the rent. Lydia's son, Charlie (Gregor Selkirk), meanwhile, is getting bullied at school. Injuries from one such altercation send him to Dr. Jean Markham (Anna Paquin), who has recently returned to town and found the welcome lukewarm. Charlie is curious about the bee colonies Jean maintains in her yard and the two form a bond. Bees, Jean explains, make an excellent repository for one's secrets. When Lydia and Charlie are evicted, Jean invites them to stay in her home, an act of generosity that raises eyebrows throughout the village. Lydia soon learns why Jean is regarded with hostility – and she begins to see something in the kind doctor that takes her by surprise.

Love comes in myriad forms here: romantic love, the love between parent and child, the vocational love that a caregiver feels for their community – even when that community turns on her. Beautiful to look at, suspenseful, sexy, and touching, Jankel's film remind us that opening our hearts to the possibility of love can be reward enough.