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Lily Owens is a fourteen-year-old- girl that is still reconciling with the loss of her mother. She goes away with her caretaker, Rosaleen, to South Carolina with no place to live. They end up on the steps of the Boatwright sisters, August, June, and May, house. While building maternal bound with all three of the Boatwright sisters, Lily thinks she has found the home she has always dreamed of. Lily soon finds out that to find home, she first must leave home.
Owning and operating a successful bee farm and honey-making business, August Boatwright (Queen Latifah) is the family matriarch running the household with a firm but loving hand with her sisters, the fiercely independent music teacher June (Alicia Keys) and the innocent childlike May (Sophie Okonedo). The Boatwright sisters' lives are disrupted when fourteen year-old Lily Owens (Dakota Fanning) and her caretaker Rosaleen (Jennifer Hudson) appear on their doorstep seeking refuge. After fleeing with Rosaleen to Tiburon, South Carolina, a place surrounded by mystery and a strong connection to Lily's mother, they find shelter at the Boatwright household. Lily is immediately taken under the wing of August Boatwright as her new beekeeping apprentice. There she is given a comfortable place to explore and, for the first time in her life, just be. Lily also discovers joy in the simple pleasures of life through her deepening relationship with the Boatwright sisters and soon comes into her own, determined to enjoy the sweet nectar of life for the first time. As a budding young woman who has left the place she once called home, Lily unexpectedly finds her true home and a family she has always yearned for.