Bee Season

Release Date: November 11, 2005
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Limited release

Movie of the Day for Thursday, August 11, 2005
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No, you say it like *That's Chicago!*

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Eliza Naumann (Flora Cross) is a nine-year-old girl who surprises her family by taking first place in her school spelling bee. As a result, it's almost as though a beacon of light shines from the girl. Teachers look at her more affectionately, and the smart girls even save her a place at their lunch table. Even Eliza feels that she may really be changing - that something that had always been hidden deep inside her had finally emerged for all to see.

As for Eliza's scholarly father, Saul (Richard Gere), he had long ago given up any hope of finding sparks of brilliance in his daughter. Contrasting Eliza with her brother Aaron (Max Minghella) always made her seem wanting in some capacity. While Aaron was reciting his Bar Mitzvah prayers from memory and focused on his homework, Eliza preferred the simplicity of watching reruns on television. Her sudden, newfound spelling talent encourages Saul to view his daughter in a new light.

He begins to coach her for the national competition, spending time with Eliza that was once devoted to Aaron. She blossoms under his tutelage, coming to look at life in "alphabetical terms". When Saul sees this transformation, he begins to take his teachings to another level. He introduces her to some mystical teachings and abilities that have previously eluded him, particularly the influx of God-knowledge, also known as sheaf, that was described by the Kabbalist Abraham Abulafia. She easily identifies this new knowledge to her ability to work with letters.

Naturally, Aaron becomes jealous, and sets off on his own troubling religious pursuits. Also confused by Eliza's success is her intelligent, compulsive mother, Miriam (Juliette Binoche). Reminded of her own childhood, Miriam tries to connect with her daughter, but finds it difficult. This disappointment causes her to descend into a surprising secret life.

Bee Season is based on a novel by the same name from author Myra Goldberg. The book enjoyed some popularity, and should find a decent following on its release in theaters. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Bee Season
Main Cast Richard Gere, Flora Cross, Juliette Binoche
Supporting Cast Max Minghella, Kate Bosworth
Director Scott McGehee, David Siegel
Screenwriter Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
Distributor Fox Searchlight
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Rating PG-13
Running Time 104 minutes
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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