Tell It to the Bees
Stars: Anna Paquin, Holliday Grainger, Emun Elliott
Adapted from the novel by actor Fiona Shaw this over-earnest middlebrow romance feels more suited to cosy Sunday night TV viewing than the big screen. Paquin, revisiting the lilting Scottish accent from ‘The Piano’, is Dr Jean Markham, returning to her small hometown to take over her late father’s practice. She had left some years earlier due to some undisclosed scandal. After treating the son of Lydia (Grainger), a gutsy northern woman who has been abandoned by her husband, a friendship develops between the two young women. Later, after Lydia has moved into the manor house to help Jean out, they become lovers, much to the disproval of the close-knit and bigoted local community. Paquin and Grainger do their very best, and manage to generate some chemistry, but they are unable to contend with the mannered and self-consciously literary feel, and the dutiful ticking off of worthy issues, as well as some clunky and overwrought metaphors about bees, and a climax (also involving bees) which, while it might have worked on the page, literalised on the screen is very silly indeed.