Monday 26 August 2019

Tell It To The Bees review: 'A touching and tender tale, seasoned with perhaps a spoonful too much schmaltz'

3 stars

Tell It To The Bees
Tell It To The Bees

Tanya Sweeney

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)

Irish Independent

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