Remember your own time at Girls Camp? The joy of being in nature, the chance to make new friends, create fun crafts, learn how to build a fire, sing silly songs together, do funny skits, become closer to God. Or maybe you remember it more like this: the catty girls and cliques, all of the bugs, how long the 5 mile hike was, the smell of smoke lingering on your clothing, how hard it was to set up the tents, or the rain that washed out the activities. Whatever the case, each of those scenarios are real parts of Girls Camp, which is why we name the new movie Once I Was a Beehive as not only the best movie of the summer, but also the BEST Mormon movie ever made, because it delves into both sides of going to Girls Camp!
Synopsis: Lane Speer is a 16-year-old dealing with her father’s death as well as her mother’s remarriage to a squeaky clean Mormon when she lands on a trip to Girls Camp with some interesting characters: her new cousin Phoebe, an over-zealous Young Women’s President, and 8 other girls with personalities all their own. Through setting up camp, hiking, and trials that are unique only to camping in the wild, Lane discovers she is not alone, learns how to forgive and love an “enemy”, and uses her experiences to help those around her. Who knew that one could learn so much from camping?
Once I Was a Beehive is not just another cheesy Mormon movie with a hokey message. The movie is the most real Mormon movie we’ve seen (besides The Saratov Approach, which is actually by the same amazing producers). And although some of the characters are a little exaggerated (like the overly enthusiastic Young Women’s president Carrie Carrington and the rough, Vietnam veteran Camp Director Nedra Rockwell), they are not overly so but are just enough to be comical and remind us of our own imperfections even when our motives are pure and good. And their characters are perfectly balanced with some more down-to-earth characters (like the Young Women’s counselor Holly Valentine and Bishop Rudd).
Still, the Young Women’s characters couldn’t have been created more perfectly. Each Young Woman in the movie shines with a unique personality that perfectly represents the real Young Women that you’ll find in your ward or stake. There’s the boy crazy one, the “perfect” one, the one that loves doing impressions and being the center of attention, the one that doesn’t want to be there, and so many more that you’ll absolutely fall in love with!
And the acting by everyone is impeccable…no exceptions! We are most impressed with Mila Smith (who plays Phoebe Valentine.) Though this might be her first movie, you’d never guess it. She was the perfect pick for the part of the humble but intellectual Beehive who struggles with anxiety and struggles to make friends with the other Young Women.
Finally, the ending of the movie wraps up everything perfectly along with a spiritual realization from Phoebe during the testimony meeting that really makes you appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ more.
If you are looking for a great movie to tie up the spiritually-uplifting activities of the summer, then Once I Was a Beehive is your movie. Don’t forget to go see it on August 14!
Find even more interviews, info, and extras about the new Once I Was a Beehive movie in our latest mini mag for August!