When the Bees Go, We Go (A Film Review)


Do you eat honey as an alternative to sweeteners? Did you know that the bees that produce that honey are given a steady diet of high-fructose corn syrup? Try and run from the cold hard truth of this warm and delightful movie, Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?, and you won’t make it far. The truth is that the mono-cropping practices of large farms in America have caused over 5 million bee colonies to disappear. We rely on bees to pollinate our crops. It’s as simple as that. I don’t know about you, but only having oatmeal and bread for the rest of time (because the price of fruits and vegetables skyrocketed due to massive crop shortages, and even losses) does not sound healthy. Queen of the Sun is a documentary that takes an alternative look at a topic that most people are downright afraid of… bees.

I’m sure it has happened to almost everyone. Here in the northwest we’ve got a lifestyle that lends itself to bee stings. When I was a kid, I stepped on a nest and had a very pissed off swarm fly up my pant leg and into my shirt. Now that I look back on that event, I realize they probably weren’t even bees. That’s part of the problem, the fear that people have. When in reality, bees are fairly docile insects that only sting when provoked. Most of the time, bees get a bad rap from yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets, that are all aggressive creatures known for stinging first and asking questions later. Even now, while I research bees, half of the websites I run into are something along the lines of- “Bee problem? Dump gasoline in hole after dark, ignite, etc…” Only every once and awhile does someone chime in and say, “uh, call a beekeeper?” It’s that fear that we must educate our way through. If people knew the truth about bees, they wouldn’t run for the gasoline and the blazing torches.

But I digress… Queen of the Sun (from director Taggart Siegel) is beautifully filmed, the locations are amazing, the close-ups of bees and hives and honeycombs are all superb. While some of the interviewees are a little more colorful than the rest, all of the experts and beekeepers that lend a hand to Queen are intelligent, funny, and thoughtful people who obviously care deeply about bees… And why shouldn’t they? Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem, without them, pollen would not be spread, plants would be stuck, unable to breed. Most movies like to tell the end of the world as a bang, Queen is telling it with a whimper.

The message of this movie is clear, if we don’t change our habits in America and Europe, bees could disappear altogether. remember that movie 2012? Yeah, except without all the explosions and bad acting. Bees pollinate 40% of our food supply on Earth… with out them, well… are you going to do it? I can’t even get my kids to take out the garbage, less “go out back and pollinate the garden kids… otherwise no fruit… ever.”

I love movies like this. That make it to my hands through no fault of my own, strictly on chance (it happens a lot, most recently with The Way Back), and it ends up not just informing me, but moving me. To know, now, that chemicals developed in wartime, explicitly to kill humans, is now sprayed onto the food we eat… well I shudder to even write it. The neurotoxin-based insecticides that are used these days are the same chemical agents we developed to destroy each other almost a century ago. The great part about this movie is the many different angles it shows, and the multiple theories it presents as to why these mass-extinctions are happening with our bees.

The footage in Queen of the Sun is simply breathtaking. The intricate ways that a colony moves, shifts, grows, and dies are fascinating to watch, and the movie never lingers too long in the sadness of its message. In fact, it keeps an upbeat rhythm and never seems to become complacent or stagnate. The movie will open on Earth Day at the Bijou on Earth Day, and everyone should check it out. If for no other reason than to educate themselves on the importance on these highly evolved little creatures. I highly recommend it! I have to say, after watching this movie, I will never look at bees the same way again.



Don’t miss the new film “Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us?” returning to Portland, OR and will be playing in Eugene at Bijou Art Cinemas starting APRIL 22nd! Also theatrically premiering in 4 other Oregon cities beginning on EARTH DAY 4/22! Queen of the Sun is a profound, alternative look into the problems and solutions of the global honeybee crisis from Taggart Siegel, the director of the award-winning, grass-roots hit The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Film.com calls Queen of the Sun, “Stunning… as soulful as it is scientific, as uplifting as it is alarming.” Shawn Levy at the Oregonian calls it, “Entertaining, gorgeous, and relevant.”


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