Lily (Dakota Fanning) is 14-years-old. On top of the trials of adolescence, she has an abusive father to contend with, and is haunted by memories of accidentally shooting her mother as an infant. Sadly, much of the film’s focus is on Fanning’s precocious performance as Lily gradually realises she’s not ‘unlovable’, and yet the surrounding story of the black women with whom she finds solace is far more interesting. A group of intelligent, independent sisters fighting their own small battles in the Civil Rights movement, August (Queen Latifah), June (Alicia Keys) and May (Sophie Okenedo) are smartly dressed, softly spoken, bee-keeping women. Far removed from the stereotypes and clichés facing most black female characters in cinema, particularly in period films, it is their performances, especially Keys’ superb elegance and restraint, that prevent the film becoming a total schmaltz-fest.