Queen Bees review: Why, yes, elders rock

Ellen Burstyn and James Caan in Queen Bees

Queen Bees is a story about how it’s never too late to make new friends and it’s never too late to fall in love. Set in a retirement home with a great cast of elders, it’s a touch of mean girls combined with a romcom. As the film says, “It’s like mean girls in Medic Alert bracelets.”

Queen Bees is no Last Tango in Halifax, but like that series, it’s based on a true story. In this case it was producer Harrison Powell’s grandmother who inspired the late-in-life love story.

The poster for Queen Bees features James Caan, Ellen Burstyn, Ann-Margret, Jane Curtin, and Loretta Devine

A look a the poster tells you why an elder like myself would be drawn to this movie with its cast of long-time favorites.

Helen (Ellen Burstyn) lives in her home alone. A mishap leads to a fire in the kitchen. She agrees to spend a month in a nearby retirement home while repairs are made. Her daughter Laura (Elizabeth Mitchell) has been trying to get her into the home since her father died three years ago, but Helen resisted. Helen is very close to her grandson Peter (Matthew Barnes), but has been distant from Laura since her husband died.

As Helen settles into the new surroundings, she’s rejected by head mean girl Janet (Jane Curtin). Janet rules over a group including Sally (Loretta Devine) and Margot (Ann-Margret). They eventually become friends, but it’s a rocky journey.

Women flock to any new man who appears, including Arthur (Christopher Lloyd) and Dan (James Caan). Dan, however, is only interested in keeping Helen busy with flower arrangements, bridge, bingo, and every other activity the facility has to offer.

Helen and Dan surprise themselves by falling in love. Finding new love late in life is definitely the theme of the movie. During the credits many, many real elder couples are shown in loving poses or wedding attire. If you’ve been looking for love yourself, maybe you should be looking in a retirement home!

I didn’t think Queen Bees was very realistic. The characters were unusually healthy, the home was unusually available and open. Illnesses were glossed over. It was a cheerful film with good jokes and lovely actors. There were a few touching moments. I completely enjoyed it, realistic or not.

It’s streaming on Netflix now, or can be rented on Prime Video.

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