Arts & Entertainment
AT THE MOVIES
Bee Spells Family
Jewish screenwriter and Hollywood mom
pens script based on Myla Goldberg book.
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Gyllenhaal knows exactly
why the dysfunctional yet
deeply Jewish Naumann family
became her chosen muse.
"What drew me to them',' she
said,"was what drew me to Anne
Frank. It's a story about people
with whom we can all identify."
The Naumanns are the central
characters of Bee Season, which
opens Friday, Nov. 18, at the
Uptown Birmingham 8. The film
explores the dissolution of the
Naumann family after the
youngest member, 9-year-old Eliza
(Flora Cross), discovers she's a
While Eliza's father Saul
(Richard Gere) lavishes his previ-
ously ordinary daughter with
attention and feels she can
enhance her gifts by studying
Kabbalah, he commits the classic
parental error of living vicariously
through her achievements.
Meanwhile, Eliza's mother
Miriam (Juliette Binoche) strug-
gles with mental illness, and her
brother Aaron (Max Minghella),
neglected by his father, finds solace
in a local Hare Krishna temple.
Deciding she's to blame for these
events, Eliza takes it on herself to
repair what has shattered in her
creenwriter Naomi Foner
For Gyllenhaal, an award-win-
ning screenwriter, the film marks
something of a career resurgence.
Her credits include Running on
Empty and Losing Isaiah. After a
slow period,"where I would call
my agent and she'd offer me video
game projects, this is a return:'
said Gyllenhaal, who's in her late
50s. "I mean, how many women
my age have given up?"
So far, the film, directed by
David Siegel and Scott McGehee,
has garnered mixed reviews. Time
Out London called it an "ambi-
tious, fiercely intelligent and supe-
rior family drama:' while other
publications say the film doesn't
quite succeed in stringing togeth-
er the varied and complex themes
of the novel.
"One remains at a distant
remove throughout, respectful of
the tricky material under consid-
eration and the difficulty of giving
it flesh-and-blood onscreen but
detached to the point of indiffer-
ence to its outcome,' wrote Todd
McCarthy in Variety.
The movie is based on Bee
Season, the acclaimed novel by
Myla Goldberg. Although
Goldberg declined to be inter-
viewed for this article, she's quot-
ed on the Random House Web site
as saying that the filmmakers'
"overall devotion to the book was
a constant source of surprise."
"It was a difficult book to adapt;'
"The internal voices of
Goldberg's characters had to be
externalized and all their different
points of view had to manifest.
"This is not a film that ties
everything neatly together. It's full
of ambiguity, but so is life. Yes, I
think its an imperfect film but it
doesn't have to be perfect to be
Gyllenhaal, the mother of actors
Jake (Proof, Jarhead) and Maggie
(Mona Lisa Smile, Secretary), con-
siders herself "culturally Jewish."
The daughter of doctors,
Gyllenhaal grew up in New York
and describes her family as identi-
fying with other Jewish, left-lean-
ing intellectuals who sent their
children to the nonsectarian
Ethical Culture schools.
"I remember standing up dur-
ing my confirmation ceremony
and saying I didn't believe in God':
Carry-out ot• exp. 77-30-05
November 17 • 2005