Left to Right: Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Sophie Okonedo. Seated: Sue Monk Kidd and Director, Gina Prince-Bythewood (Photo by Sidney Baldwin).
The film will arrive in theaters soon–– Friday, October 17–– and it seems everywhere I go I'm asked if I've seen the movie and what I think about it. I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago at a small screening. I'd read the script, but sitting in the theater, waiting for the movie to start, I had no idea what I would see, whether the story and characters would come to life on the screen and feel true to the novel. I'd said before that turning over my novel to Hollywood had, at times, seemed like leaping out of an airplane, but it never seemed more so than at this moment, when the lights dimmed and the film began. Over the next hour and forty-five minutes the parachute opened and the whole thing floated beautifully to earth. I realized that not only was the adaptation true to the book, it was actually a very good film. When I saw the photograph for the first time last week, it reminded me of one of the things I love best about the movie–– its portrayal of the solidarity that binds these women and how vividly their mothering and sistering change the lives around them. I hope the photograph will be an invitation–– novelist to reader–– to see the movie with your friends, mothers, sisters, daughters, and book groups, and experience The Secret Life of Bees, as I did, in a whole new way.