New neighbors threaten a beekeeper’s way of life.
“It may be a while before another documentary on Macedonian beekeeping comes along, so we should make the most of Honeyland,” said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. It opens with a ritual that could be from another century: A headscarf-clad woman walks a high, narrow cliff edge, removes a stone, and barehandedly harvests half of the honey from a wild beehive, leaving the rest for the bees. Our heroine, Hatidze Muratova, and her half-blind mother turn out to be the last residents of a tiny village, and “there’s a bit of a gentle, Old World spin on Grey Gardens about them,” said Sheri Linden in The Hollywood Reporter. Then conflict arises with the arrival of a boisterous itinerant family. Hatidze “initially regards them with warm curiosity,” even teaching the children how to harvest honey sustainably. But the father resists the long view, and his clumsy foray into beekeeping spells potential disaster for Hatidze. Watching this tragedy of the commons play out is “like looking at the greatest problems of our time through a pinhole,” said David Ehrlich in IndieWire.com. Still, Honeyland “sees the situation with a clarity that gets under your skin.” ■