The Bumblebee Flies Anyway

Distributed by: THINKFilm

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Based on a novel of the same name by Roger Cormier, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway is a 1999 film starring Elijah Wood as Barney Snow, a patient in a Massachusetts advanced-care cancer ward.  Barney is different than the other patients here - he doesn't have cancer, but is suffering from acute amnesia.  Having no memories of his past and being the odd-man out in a ward filled with dying patients, Barney must find a way to create an identity for himself without becoming too attached to those around him.

            The center of an advanced experiment called Project Bumblebee, Barney is fed memories by his psychiatrist (Janeane Garofalo) and the mysterious Dr. Croft (Roger Rees).  In creating an identity for himself, Barney begins to bond with the very patients he is supposed to be detached from.  He finds himself particularly drawn to Mazzo (Joseph Perrino), the one patient in the ward who wants nothing to do with him.  Itís an uneasy relationship between the two with one bright spot, Mazzoís twin sister Cassie (Rachel Leigh Cook).

            With the help of Cassie and his newly made family in the cancer ward, Barney begins to discover the truth about himself.  As the truth is revealed, Barney is faced with an important decision - one whose very nature could cause him to lose everything he now holds dear.

            I first saw The Bumblebee Flies Anyway on television one late night when I had nothing to do and started flipping channels.  I enjoyed it so much, I purchased the DVD version of the film.  The movie was intriguing in two ways, scientifically and psychologically.  The idea of mind over matter in the case of cancer treatment has been bandied around for many years.  It has been said that positive attitudes aide in the successful treatment of cancer.  Psychologically, it has been theorized that the presence of loved ones can also be an affective aide in successfully battling cancer.  This film takes these theories one step further, but to tell you how would mean giving up the secrets of the film and that would be just wrong.

            The Bumblebee Flies Anyway is a thinking manís movie in that it raises an interesting question.  If you had to give up everything you have ever known and loved to be healthy, would you do it?  In other words, what price would you pay to live?  There is also the idea of remaining detached in a hospital setting. If this is your environment on a daily basis, is it actually possible to remain detached?

            The acting in this film is excellent.  Elijah Wood, Rachel Leigh Cook and Joseph Perrino are excellent in their roles.  One often forgets that these actors were rather young when portraying these characters.  The very nature of their situation forces their characters to make very mature decisions at a very young age.  Janeane Garofalo is excellent as the detached psychiatrist who begins to change her attitude toward therapy the longer she is exposed to her new patient.

            An independent film, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway doesnít rely on a whole lot of flash and a huge cast of characters to get its point across.  This is a thinking personís film and a movie well worth watching.


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