Once I Was a Beehive full movie review - My family enjoyed this movie!
This was a heartwarming and engaging family film. We were looking for something the family could watch together on Mothers Day and stumbled across this little coming-of-age drama on Netflix. My wife and kids bought into the characters and situations.
Personally, the longer I watched it, the more disturbing I found it. Folks, this movie is grade A, pure manipulation and propaganda. It's crafted to take evangelical Christians (especially young people) on a journey with the main character, Lane, from seeing Mormons as off putting cultists to "special people, the best Christians." I'm sure that was the agenda. Here are some details to support my claim:
1. Other than terminology for God (Heavenly Father) and church leaders (the bishop), not one shred of Mormon doctrine comes up in the movie. Instead, we see Mormons as a tight knit community of flawed but well meaning people who just love to study the Bible. Some of them are very knowledgeable about it. There is no reference to Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants...nothing! 2. The main character has been struggling to believe in anything after the death of her father so the Mormons are not seen as recruiting Christians out of their own traditions but rather as providing experiences which will help rescue doubting young people from abandoning their Christian beliefs. 3. At one point one of the characters affirms that hope that Lane has that her father will be in paradise. Isn't it great that we're all just Christians and will all be saved together. 4. Lane discovers that prayer really does work as the dog who was believed dead is found at the end of the movie by no less than the bishop. Man, that was a good one. I have to hand it to the writers on that one. In one stroke, they intimated that Mormon prayers are powerful and Mormon leaders are heroes. 5. The movie deprecates Mormons at the beginning, humanizes them in the middle and celebrates them at the end. Ha! Genius! 6. Through out the movie, we (young adults) get acculturated to Mormon idiosyncrasies. We see that the bishop has to be present but only from a distance. We come to appreciate the moralism and conformity. And best of all, we get introduced to one of Mormonisms best brainwashing tools - the testimony meeting. 7. During the credits, we get to see photos of actual youth camps like the one depicted in the movie. The attempt at manipulation was not lost on my 10-year-old daughter. She said, "Wait, so they really have camps like that!" This is the part that actually took me from ill to outraged.
This movie was a carefully constructed two hour PR spot for Mormonism targeted specifically at Christian youth. Bravo to the web weavers of Salt Lake!