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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

C'mon, Baby, Light My Fire!

Queen Bees (2021) on IMDb

Plot Overview

glass“Life, it goes on.” Pine Groves is an old folks home where they go to spend their remaining days. “Queen Bees” tip toes around the sexuality of its seniors. Listing it by category in ascending order of lines spoken: first we have a skewed ratio of women to men. Statistically, women live longer than men, and women generally marry younger than their spouses to begin with, so we end up with more widows than widowers. Helen Wilson (Ellen Burstyn) remarks that since she was older than her husband Charlie, she expected he would out­live her, but it didn't work out that way. They were both ball­room dancers, which may have helped extend their healthy lives, but he still died first. That is all we are told, but we can observe a lot more women there than men. That means a lot of dames will get left out in the romance department.

A single exchange between Helen and her new friend Sally Hanson (Loretta Devine) gives us to under­stand that they weren't born gay, and at this late date, it would require too much energy to come into the lesbian fold even had they wanted to.

Lito (Alec Mapa) the pool calisthenics instructor is a real hunk in his briefs, provoking ribald comments from the girls, which is just part of the show, not going any­where, but it does show they have blood in their veins if not men in their lives.

Arthur Lane (Christopher Lloyd) is the lucky Lothario having to schedule his sessions with the various women in turn. Margot (Ann-Margret,) one of the Queen Bees clique (“We are the cool ones,”) feels they are getting serious, but she questions his commitment. She has a heart-to-heart talk with him.

A reluctant Helen is entering a budding romance with new arrival Dan Simson (James Caan) who was assigned the room across from hers and soon became her flower partner in the garden class. There is a complex dramatic development involved in their relation­ship with each other and with family and colleagues, some­what akin to one in a Clive Cussler novel:

Pitt, Special Projects Director for NUMA, made the introductions. “Admiral James Sandecker, Congress­woman Loren Smith.”

“We've sat across from each other during Marine Committee meetings,” said Loren, extending her hand.

Sandecker didn't need clairvoyance to read Pitt and Loren's relation­ship. “Now I see why you've always looked kindly on my NUMA budget proposals.”

If Loren felt any embarrassment at his insinuation, she didn't show it. “Dirk is a very persuasive Lobbyist,” she said sweetly. (140–1)


J.B. Mozley D.D., in his sermon on The Teaching of Events narrates:
What a lesson do the events of the world teach us, as they go past us day after day, week after week, year after year! And every one must feel that there are some which are special and remarkable lessons. They strike us, they fasten on us; we feel that we get some­thing from them, that we gain as experience, a sense of the reality of some truth which we had not before. Even God's word does not teach us or make us under­stand truths with­out this teaching of events. This is what we mean when we talk of experience, and say that we cannot really know any­thing with­out experience. We say this in worldly things, and we must say it in spiritual things too. Nobody gains a spiritual state of mind with­out this teaching; events strike him, and give a whole turn to his thoughts. Nor need they be always such as relate to him­self, though these have a special power of instruction when they are of a nature that brings pain and humiliation; but they may be events relating to others, either public, or remarkable events in private life. (106)

Does not every day bring forth its warning fact? The news­paper, the post, the passing tidings, bring it. We can hardly go from morning to evening with­out Providence renewing and reviving truth. (108)

This movie illustrates the humble saying, (Eccl. 7:16) “Be not righteous over much; neither make thy­self over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thy­self?” It was righteous for Lito to refrain from fraternizing with the ladies, no hanky panky in their rooms. Okay. But public flirting as part of the show was okay, it helped keep attendance up, which exercise they needed. It was not going to result in drama and intrigue the way private sessions might. A similar dynamic occurs in the writings of the apostle Paul. He asks the whole church as a group to accept him and his entourage in their hearts, (2Cor. 6:11-13) “be ye also enlarged.” This is different from the sectarianism he denounced earlier in First Corinthians where some were followers of Paul and some of other apostles. They are all of a group.

It was actually a wise approach for Romeo Dan to play the field before getting serious with Margot. As writer Paul H. Landis tells us, In Defense of Dating:

It is quite logical to believe that some kind of dating is necessary to the development of the judgment and pair interaction that is at the root of real objectivity in mate selec­tion. Those who have dated more than one person have a chance to compare and to learn some of the usual behavior patterns of members of the opposite sex. They learn to distinguish between those whose personalities seem to promise a durable compatibility and those whose personalities obviously do not. Dating is an explor­atory experience through which young people learn. In most circles today, therefore, it is considered desirable that young people “circulate” rather than “go steady” from the beginning, that some variety of dating experi­ence is favorable to ultimate mate choice. The girl who is considered desirable as a date by a number of fellows is presumed to be the one most likely to be sought after in marriage. (223)

The problem of making oneself “over wise,” though, is having such high standards for mate selection as to be priced right out of the market. Since marriage is the normal outlet to avoid fornication (1Cor. 7:2-4) for a Christian with sexual desires, then he or she will have to settle some­time for a less-than-perfect mate in this fallen world. Paul under­stands this well enough as he says the married will have conflicts with each other, i.e. (1Cor. 7:28) “trouble in the flesh.”

loversIn this movie settling for Dan is problematic for Margot when he keeps slipping up and calling her by his ex-wife's name. Not a good sign, that. But a serious discussion reveals that Dan has a hard enough time remembering his own name, what with age-related memory loss, so he might be given a pass for forgetting hers. As for Christians Paul shows in 1st Corinthians that even an ordinarily avoided mixed marriage can be made to work if circumstances require it.

Paul does, however, enjoin the church not to mix heathen practices in with their corporate worship, (2Cor. 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: ...” He argues from the basis of what the Corinthians would have observed from various mixed marriages in their midst, (2Cor. 6:15) “what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” Observing various marital conflicts in certain individuals' mixed marriages would clue the church in to not attempting that mixture in corporate worship. The individuals were allowed to marry mixed regardless so as to avoid fornication—or what­ever they thought was in their best interest,—not destroying them­selves by being over wise. Such would not find application to corporate worship. In modernized Bible versions, how­ever, eliminating the singular thee & thou pronouns distinct from the plural ye & you, and substituting the all-encompassing pronoun you—or you under­stood—in Paul's “not unequally yoked” command blurs the distinction between individual and corporate commands and could lead to fornication when one is not generously allowed to marry.

The widow Helen's family encouraged her to continue to express her vibrant life once her husband was gone. Since she'd been a teacher and then a political activist (“Protesting, trying to change the world,”) and, “She loves famous quotes,” that could mean marrying poetically. Since she was a ball­room dancer, that could mean marrying as part of the dance of life. That doesn't necessarily entail marrying a poet or a dancer per se, just keeping up the flow. Similarly, when Paul enjoins a widow to marry (1Cor. 7:39) “only in the Lord,” he means for her to keep up the Christian flow, not necessarily to marry a Christian … or a poet, or a dancer, although Helen was teaching Dan to dance, and it would be normative for a believing spouse to attempt to convert the unbelieving one.

To round out the analogies, Paul thinks (1Cor. 7:40) that a widow would be “happier if she so abide” unmarried, and at Pine Groves a lot of them have no choice.

Production Values

“Queen Bees” (2021) was directed by Michael Lembeck. Its screenplay was written by Donald Martin based on a story by Harrison Powell. It stars Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, and Ann-Margret. Some of the main parts were acted well, others so-so. Don't expect Oscars.

senior busMPAA rated it PG–13 for drug use, suggestive material and some language. The romantic trysts were don't ask, don't tell. The camera merci­fully turns a blind eye, so what one thinks depends on what one wants to think. The music was, plink, plunk, awfully cutesy, but then one doesn't want to blast out the senior audience. The theater where I saw it was attended by all old folk: mostly women but one grumpy old man. The camera didn't try any tricks, and a portion of the story was by narration rather than flash­backs. The speech was distinct as befits the hard of hearing. The big screen seemed wasted on a lack of scenery to fill it.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Despite the trailer these weren't killer bees. You know you're old enough to see it when you require oxygen. Pay attention for when gramps asks you to explain it. The younger crowd will probably give it a pass. It's okay for mellow viewing.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Wake up and smell the 1990s technology. Video Occasion: Good for the geriatric crowd's movie night. Suspense: Predictable. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software, print.

Cussler, Clive. Deep Six. Copyright © 1984 by Clive Cussler Enterprises, Inc. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984. Print.

Landis, Paul H. Making the Most of Marriage. New York: Meredith Publishing, 1965. Print.

Mozley D.D., J.B. Sermons Parochial and Occasional. New York: E.P. Dutton and Co., 1880. Print.