Bee Season


Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32

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Critic Reviews

  1. The film ultimately is a letdown, leaving too many questions unanswered and ending in a gesture that doesn't really solve anything.
  2. Ultimately, its success may depend on how emotionally satisfying audiences find this flirtation with Jewish mysticism.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The film is ice cold, never finding a way to invite the viewer into the story, and Richard Gere doesn't convince as a Jewish biblical scholar.
  4. 50
    The mysticism only mystifies; its hieroglyphics are vividly rendered, but Bee Season never manages to spell them out.
  5. The attempt to be clever is transparent.
  6. Though bathed in ecclesiastical light and a work of obvious craft and ambition, Bee Season is grimly serious and rather full of itself.
  7. 50
    Fine directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel take a detour into mumbo jumbo.
  8. This is inelegant storytelling, and it almost entirely cancels out what's good about the film: Max Minghella, for one thing. The son of director Anthony, he gives a very fresh performance, popping with energy that the other characters seem to drain.
  9. Co-directors Scott McGehee and David Siegel, whose visual schemes lent a hypnotic aura to their previous collaborations -- "The Deep End" and "Suture" -- don't find the right balance of story and image this time.
  10. This well-meaning mistake gets lost in the metaphors.
  11. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Here the foundation has been miscast. That's M-I-S-C-A-S-T.
  12. 50
    A drama about dysfunction, spelling bees, mental illness, Hare Krishnas and kaballah. The movie is just as unwieldy as it sounds, except that it also stars Richard Gere.
  13. All these mystical elements are so sententiously handled and bump into one another so clumsily that they make the film seem nutty. But because spirituality is the theme of Bee Season, we are obviously not meant to laugh at it. Well, I wish I could get Jehovah's reaction to the picture.
  14. 40
    Everyone in Bee Season is chasing spiritual peace and falling behind, and McGehee and Siegel catch them at their most worn-out and static.
  15. Myla Goldberg's novel about spelling-bee fever, a family in chaos, and religious/mystic exploration arrives on the screen with all its faults intact, but few of its charms.
  16. Reviewed by: Steve O'Hagan
    Gloopy family drama meets Hollywood cod-spirituality in a movie that’s defeated by its over-ambitious scope.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 8
  2. Negative: 3 out of 8
  1. CherylC.
    Aug 24, 2006
    Simply a pretentious mess. What a waste of the children's talents.
  2. ChadS.
    Aug 20, 2006
    [***SPOILERS***] What's missing from "Bee Season" is that one scene in which we feel the thrill of Eliza's accomplishment. [***SPOILERS***] What's missing from "Bee Season" is that one scene in which we feel the thrill of Eliza's accomplishment. It's just not there. We think that moment is going to occur when Eliza and Aaron(Max Minghella) interrupt their father's class; something akin to Ned Beatty telling his co-workers that Rudy is going to Notre Dame. But no, we cut to the father's office, the big news already sprung, so we're denied Saul's initial bout of incredulousness. In the novel by Myla Goldberg, to my recollection, Miriam's depression never compartmentalizes Eliza's spelling bee training, and spelling bee competitions(most of the time, the spellers never get to finish their words) into afterthought. When you hire a big star like Juliette Binoche(her wanderings are introduced too early), that's going to happen. Not to mention, Richard Gere(in the book, I imagined Saul Naumann as a cross between Mr. Hooper from Sesame Street and Larry David). "Bee Season" needs more spelling and less, way less withering looks and tears. What if "Searching for Bobby Fischer" spent an inordinate amount of time on Lawrence Fishburne's hobo activities? I loved the book. This adaptation is very, very disappointing. Full Review »
  3. E.Phillips
    Jul 31, 2006
    What a bizzare movie! Talk about a dysfunctional family!! I wonder why Richard Gere would do such a movie.