Wet Bum’s Julia Sarah Stone, continuing to broaden her budding acting career, plays an underage prostitute named Natalie. Preparing for a trip to Sudbury, Ontario to branch out with her abusive boyfriend/pimp, the illegal ring is uncovered by a sting; resulting in the police apprehending Natalie and placing her in foster care under the supervision of Louise (Martha Plimpton) and her husband.
Rau offers a raw perspective of Natalie’s street life – allowing the filmmaker to carry over her skills as a documentarian. Key performances from Stone and Plimpton are very strong as well. The latter commands every moment she’s on screen, and gets away with some sharp comebacks once Natalie – bitter and impolite – is in her care. There are also some nice turns from Michelle McLeod (Don’t Talk to Irene) and Connor Price (SyFy’s Being Human) as the other children under Louise’s roof. These memorable qualities, however, are working within a paint-by-numbers narrative as Natalie discovers the kindness of others and her own humility.
Honey Bee is solid but, most of all, it’s to be chalked up as learning experience for Rama Rau as she makes her favourable feature debut. But now that she knows how to make this “kind” of movie, here’s hoping she challenges herself in different ways next time.
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