I recently went to see Once I was a Beehive. And it was a great movie! A first I was skeptical. But from the first moment, in the opening shots, you got a feeling for the family bond that exists with the characters. The first few scenes reminded me of the Disney ride “Soaring over California” because they are taken from a helicopter, and with the big screen I really felt like I was flying. The scenery was gorgeous! I loved it.
Since the movie is just going to national theaters this next week, I will do my best not to ruin it for you. But as the trailers tell you this is a movie about a young girl whose Dad has taken the family camping every first week of the month for years. It’s a tradition and a wonderful bonding time for them. Then he passes away suddenly, and her mother gets remarried to a Mormon. The new guy she marries is believably awkward and in over his head with trying to parent a teenager. I felt for the guy. And while they are on their honeymoon our main character gets to spend time with his sister and teenage niece. The teens end up getting along really well, and this sets the scene for an epic first year at Girl’s camp.
The Young Women’s leader, who is in charge of the camp, is your basic overachiever. I take that back, she is far from basic. She is so over the top that it’s hilarious! This movie kept me laughing nearly the entire time. It did take a few moments to be very touching and sweet, and I even cried a few times. But shortly thereafter I was laughing again. It’s rare to find a movie that can successfully accomplish both emotions. And it is definitely worth a second watching. I don’t say that about many movies. But the quality of the script, acting, editing, and music was among the best I’ve ever seen. There wasn’t one moment where the people onscreen didn’t “sell it,” and I was fully drawn into the story.
Now, this is where you want to stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers. I just have to comment and giggle about the head young women’s leader. Her preparations for camp made every other woman who has ever done that job look like a kindergartener. This woman scrapbooked the camp plans for presentation to her assistant. She created journals that were bound together with the camp manual, certifications, and itinerary into a set of “golden plates” for each attendee. Then she buried them all in a treasure chest for the girls to dig up. “This is too much,” you say. But you’ve not even heard the best, biggest project yet. Sister “overachiever” has built an ark! Like Noah had. It is on wheels, floats, has a working door, doubles as a cabin that leaders can (and do) sleep in, and has a second deck the girls can go out onto to view nature. Yep! Hilarious!!
There is also a leader who is a grandma, leather wearing biker, and former Marine. She is funny, tough, and provides the teepees the girls sleep in. I found the idea of a teepee in these days of Coleman tents to be unique, endearing, and hilarious all at once. They also provide some comedy moments and a chance for our main character to show her camping prowess. But this ‘Grandma Biker Chick’ quickly became one of my favorites. She even brings earmuffs for her sleeping buddies to mask her snoring.
With more funny moments than I can count, or remember, this is a movie I will be watching again and again. I can see it developing a cult following.
I also have to give a nod toward the music in this movie. There are some remade primary hymns, done so well that I was reminded a bit of Single’s Ward, and I really enjoyed them. There is an original song that is part of the closing scenes that I want to memorize. The music was well done, appropriately paced for the movie, and richly enhanced my experience.
This movie was touching without being preachy. They manage to incorporate a prayer into the plot without it feeling sacrilegious. And we get a view of what it’s really like going to girl’s camp. The quirky characters are believable and funny.
I was lucky enough to get to go to Girl’s Camp as a teen. I have good and bad memories of those times. And as I sat and watched this movie, so many moments on screen brought back memories. Even the ones with hysterical girls being surrounded by everyone in camp who is trying to make them feel better. There was a character for each of my friends who went to camp. And every time ten rumps crowded into one tiny tent, I had a flashback.
This is definitely a chick flick. But the humor keeps you interested. And even if your memories of girl’s camp are bad ones, you will be enjoying yourself as you laugh at the ridiculous antics and heartwarming moments of this movie. It is well written, well edited, and doesn’t drag. I give it an A. And that’s saying something!
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.