Movie review: ‘Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?’

Colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon in which honeybees vanish from their hives and never return, might be a lesser-known issue than climate change, but it’s one that’s arguably more critical. As honeybees pollinate — and thus, make possible — a reported 40% of our food supply, the startling loss of millions of bee colonies in the U.S. alone has caused a serious change in the ancient relationship between man and bee.

Director Taggart Siegel examines this startling crisis in the vital documentary “Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?”

With an accusing finger pointed squarely at the mechanization of commercial beekeeping and single-crop farming or “monoculture,” Siegel hops the globe interviewing an eclectic array of beekeepers, philosophers, scientists and activists who discuss the vast problems and potential solutions surrounding the beleaguered honeybee.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. This crisply shot picture also offers stirring views of these industrious little creatures, their complex habitats and the rich amber goodness they create. Some jaunty animation enlivens things as well.


However, a later-on look at the burgeoning movement of rooftop and backyard beekeeping, though intriguing, slackens the film’s narrative structure and lessens its prior urgency. Nonetheless, “Queen” sheds much-needed light on a disaster in progress.

“Queen of the Sun.” No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes. At Laemmle’s Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica; and Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7, West Hills