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Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger elevate this uneven adaptation of Fiona Shaw’s 2009 novel, about a controversial romance between two women in postwar Scotland. Grainger’s Lydia is a single mother struggling to pay her rent; part-time beekeeper Jean Markham (Paquin) has inherited both her late father’s medical practice and the family house. When Lydia’s lonely, bullied 10 year-old Charlie (Gregor Selkirk) is taken to Jean’s surgery following a playground scrape, the women strike up an unlikely comradeship and the taciturn Jean unfurls like a flower, turning towards Lydia’s warmth.
Grainger (soon to be seen in Sophie Hyde’s brilliant, jagged Animals) is a magnetic and sensual foil to the frowning, reliably expressive Paquin. The flirty tension between the two feels quietly credible, the camera occasionally shuddering with desire. A pity, then, that this sweetness is lost as the film makes a tonal swerve in its final third that it can’t pull off, using graphic sences of violence inflicted on women’s bodies as dramatic punctuation in an attempt to highlight their oppression and up the stakes.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Tell It to the Bees review – a strange romance | Drama films