Religous tone movies have been on the rise as of lately and have gotten more attention with their well written stories based on faith. Now on Netflix the 2015 film, ‘Once I Was A Beehive’, written and directed by Maclain Nelson, is a film based on the Mormon faith and will surprise everyone who has any kind of strong belief, Mormon or other. The story follows young Lane Speer who tragically loses her father whom she enjoyed camping with. When her mother Lane feels more lost than ever as she reluctantly joins her step cousin on a week long bible study camp for girls. Unsure how she feels about religion and the new young girls she will meets, she learns about more than just faith as the girls connect and struggle to survive the week and the trials of nature together.
While ‘Once I Was A Bee Hive’ definitely has strong Mormon drive, the film dives into many topics that nearly everyone can identify, especially young women. Getting past the religious part of the story, the film feels actually feels like any other family friendly movie about a young girl on an adventure to discover herself with a assemblage of characters both hilarious and heart warming. Issues of loss, anxiety, friendship, acceptance, and the adventure of nature, all are covered, usually in comical ways that both adults and teens will find entertaining. Viewers could take out the Mormon vibe and insert their own religious views and the film still has a way of being enduring.
To help tell the story the well written script introduces engaging characters that are brought to life by impressive amateur actresses, as well as memorable performances by adult actors. As Lane Speer, Paris Warner gives viewers the eyes and ears of an outsider experiencing the Mormon bible camp. Paris acts like a real teenager struggling with her mixed emotions and longing. She shares the real emotions and reactions of a sweet and intelligent teenager. Clare Niederpruem stars as Bree Carrington, the antagonist of the film, and the self proclaimed leader of the young girls. Her actions put her unintentionally at odds with Lane, even if her heart is always in the right place. Her character reminds you a lot of Mandy Moore’s character in the film “Saved”, only not as evil. The other stand out performance in the film comes from Mila Smith who plays the anxiety ridden cousin Phoebe Valentine. Smith also portrays her character like a true teenage girl but with even more heart and sweetness.
While the religious tones are strong in ‘Once I Was A Beehive”, especially the final task the young women must complete at the end of camp described as Sunday school lesson taught by Indiana Jones, the film is full of emotion and fun of any family movie. ‘Once I Was A Beehive’ is not a classic Oscar winning movie at all, but it is a well written small film. Most boys are men may not enjoy it as much as much as mothers or teenage girls but the film legitimately does entertain and warm the heart. Those with strong beliefs will enjoy the film, even if you are not a Mormon, and those that who enjoy fun positive feel good films will have just as much fun, if you take the time to check out ‘Once I Was A Beehive’.