Tell it to the Bees

Drama, Romance, Adaptation 1 h 46 m
In 1950s small town Britain, a doctor develops a relationship with her young patient’s mother.
a bee-eautful story of how love can give you strength in the toughest of times
Tell it to the Bees is a feature film from director Annabel Jankel and starring Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger. This film is an adaptation of the book of the same name (although there have been changes). Set in 1950s Ireland, this is a beautiful love story that highlights the various challenges that small towns experienced including racism, classism and homophobia. This film is a beautiful story that will please bee lovers and lesbian lovers alike. The film is introduced with a voiceover from a man with a beautiful voice that sets the tone of the film and the visual previews how the bees intertwine the narrative. This film portrays several side-stories covering interracial relationships, home abortions and classism in addition to the central romance between the two women. There is a lot going on due to this, but the central story ties all of these stories together well and it doesn’t feel forced; it gives a really clear picture of the challenges of a small town in Ireland during this time. The film flowed well, and the music carried you through scenes of tension, fear and pleasure with ease. The use of the bees buzzing was also cleverly used as a background soundtrack throughout. I loved the Brief Encounters-inspired scene the best and this was for me the scene that really connected me to the film. It is easy to be swept up in the closing visual scenes and to focus on this, rather than to listen to the final voiceover from the man, who we learn is the boy grown up reflecting on this period of his childhood which clearly had a profound impact on his life. The final message is a great closure to the film and is positive, inspirational and insightful and is a great conversation piece – it certainly generated a lot of conversation after the screening I saw! Trigger warnings for this film are attempted rape and home abortion. I would recommend this film. There has been a mixed reaction online, especially from the literary lesbian world as the end of the film is different to the end of the book. Whilst this is clearly frustrating, the film ending is powerful, emotive and had me shed a few tears and really connected me to the film and the characters.

BFI Flare 20191 logoWe saw this film as part of the 2019 BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival. The festival is running from 21 March to 31 March 2019.

You can find out more about BFI Flare on their website.

You can also check out our go to guide to women's films at BFI Flare.


Watch the trailer

The Techy bit

To find out more about the cast, crew, genre and where you can get this film, check out the LesFlicks Film Database.