Helen Wilson (Ellen Burstyn) is a fiercely independent widow. She’s determined to remain in her own home, despite her daughter Laura’s (Elizabeth Mitchell) best efforts to put her into a seniors’ home. But Helen is in the early stages of dementia and repeatedly locks herself out of her house. On one occasion, Helen leaves a pan on the stove, which starts a fire in the kitchen. Helen reluctantly agrees, therefore, to go into the home while her house is being repaired.
Once in the seniors’ home, Helen encounters a group of mean women, generally known as the Queen Bees. Embittered and unfriendly Janet (Jane Curtin) is the leader of the group. Gregarious Sally (Loretta Devine) is keen to befriend Helen, although Janet disapproves.
Helen is fearless and a match for the unlikeable Janet, and she’s soon accepted into the group. While at the home, Helen also meets Dan (James Caan), a widower who becomes quite attached to her.
But things are not all as they seem, and Helen encounters both grief and happiness during her stay.
Ageing; death and dying; romance
Queen Bees has some violence. For example:
- Helen and Laura argue heatedly on several occasions.
- Laura argues with her son, Peter.
- A bikie steals Helen’s purse and the women chase after him. Sally kicks him ‘where it hurts’.
- Janet threatens to ‘rip someone’s throat out’.
Queen Bees has some sexual references. For example:
- Characters talk about a man being a wonderful lover although he needs Viagra.
- One of the women says she sleeps with a male resident 3 nights a week. She thinks she has to share him with other women.
- Sally complains about her sweaty ‘underboobs’ and how she has to clean them.
- A woman has had 5 husbands, one of whom left her for a man.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Queen Bees shows some use of substances. For example:
- Helen and Sally share a joint and behave in a silly way.
- Characters drink at home and at a party.
Nudity and sexual activity
Queen Bees has no actual nudity, but the aqua aerobics class is taught by a young man wearing only brief swimmers. At one time he strips off down to his underwear while playing strip poker with the women.
The following products are displayed or used in Queen Bees: Apple laptop.
Queen Bees has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Queen Bees is a romantic comedy about ageing while still enjoying life. The movie is funny and serious at the same time, without being overly sentimental.
Queen Bees is likely to appeal to a more mature audience. It isn’t suitable for children under 13 years. And because of the movie’s adult themes and content, we recommend parental guidance for children aged 13-15 years.
The main messages from Queen Bees are that you’re never too old to fall in love or to make changes to your life.
Values in Queen Bees that you could reinforce with your children include independence, resilience, kindness, acceptance and inclusivity.
Queen Bees could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life questions like why Janet is such a mean-spirited person. Her own family has disowned her, but is this because she’s so unlikeable or is she unlikeable because they have disowned her?