Tell It To The Bees review: 'A touching and tender tale, seasoned with perhaps a spoonful too much schmaltz'
An adaptation on Fiona Shaw’s stirring novel, Tell It To The Bees is a love story set in 1950s Scotland between single mum Lydia (Holliday Grainger) and the local doctor, Jean Markham (Anna Paquin).
Abandoned by her battle-scarred husband (Emun Elliott) and fired from her job in a linen factory, spirited Lydia takes a job as housekeeper to the taciturn and secretive Jean, who has herself recently returned home after several years away.
A tentative love affair grows, yet the locals in this small town are reviled by the pair. The forbidden affair has wide-ranging consequences for the entire village.
All the while, Lydia’s ten-year-old son Charlie (Gregor Selkirk) forms a bond with the bees that Jean keeps at her palatial home.
Grainger is certainly luminous, even as put-upon Lydia, yet Paquin is miscast in a role that would have benefited greatly from a more nuanced performance.
Aside from that, it’s a touching and tender tale, seasoned with perhaps a spoonful too much schmaltz.
(15, Constellation, 104 mins)