by Seattle Jon:
I was never a beehive, nor have I ever been to Girls Camp, but neither stopped me from enjoying Once I Was A Beehive. The movie, which stars a number of former MMM contributors (Hailey Smith AKA May Jones, Brett Merritt, Ken Craig), tells the story of Lane Speer, a 16 year-old girl dealing with the loss of her father who is dragged off to Girls Camp with a bunch of young Mormon girls.
I knew going in Hailey had helped write and produce the film, so was less skeptical of being entertained by new mormon cinema than I might otherwise have been. I'm no movie critic, but I found most of the characters engaging, the writing and pacing good and the humor humorous. I even snorted out-loud twice - once when Lane's dad mentions he got a "killer Groupon" for the honeymoon and then again when the bishop listens to the Hunger Games on audiobook in his tent.
I watched the movie with my 15 year-old daughter (who herself has just returned from Girls Camp) and my mother. Here is what they had to say.
My mom: This light-hearted story will bring nostalgic laughs to any female lucky enough to have ever attended an LDS Girls camp. Unique personalities thrown together for a week in nature create both hilarious situations and tension along the way as they are forced to work together as a team. As a result, Lane, her cousin, and all the other participants learn valuable life lessons and Lane, herself, begins to see that peace is possible amongst her new family and friends. Get some popcorn, sit down with your family, and enjoy 119 minutes of laughter and fun.
My daughter: Last night I watched a new movie called Once I Was a Beehive with my family. As I sat down, what I expected to be a cheesy Mormon movie was actually a well-written and humorous film that I related to a LOT. I recently got back from my fourth and last year as a camper at girls camp, and in the ending of the movie the main character Lane says that when her mom asked her how it went she couldn't describe it. I realized how true this was, because unless the one asking was there you can't really tell people what it was like. There are no words for the bonds of friendship and the feeling of complete acceptance I always feel during camp. There were so many scenes in the movie where I would laugh and say, "Oh my gosh that's so true!" During the testimony meeting in the movie, they showed two of the girls hugging each other and crying uncontrollably on the bench with a pile of tissues, which is a pretty good reenactment of what happens during testimony meetings in real girls camps. This year at camp, I grew closer to a number of girls I hadn't really talked to before, and since next year I'm going to be a YCL (Youth Camp Leader) I thought that getting to know as many girls as I could would help in case I get to look after them for the week. In the movie, the two YCLs were a little clicky and really struggled with their pride when the younger girls would have to help them. At the end, though, the two YCLs realized that all of their fellow campers could teach them something and had helped their testimonies and spirits grow more than they could have imagined. I would definitely recommend Once I Was a Beehive as an excellent family movie for anyone, not just those in the Mormon religion. This movie provides good explanations of some of the Mormon traditions and also a good laugh for the girls who have been to camp because of how hilariously relatable it is.
Check out the trailer below and go see the movie in your local theater!
Seattle Jon is a family man, little league coach, urban farmer and businessman living in Seattle. He currently gets up early with the markets to trade bonds for a living. In his spare time he enjoys movies, thrifting and is an avid reader. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University and the Japan Fukuoka mission field. He has one wife, four kids, two cats and four chickens.