The Necessity of Family Codependency .
The Incapacitating Effects of Isolation.
In Victor Nunez's film, Ulee's Gold, we are first introduced to Ulee Jackson and his bees. They buzz around the hive that he is tending to like a city full of bustling crowds pushing past each other, crawling over one another to find their places. We come to learn though that the hive is their home and that the bees work to maintain it. In the same way, Ulee works hard to provide financially for his own family, but they"re all pushing and struggling against one another as they search for home. However, Ulee discovers that far more than a house is needed for him to provide all that his struggling family needs. As the film progresses, Ulee has an especially hard time learning the necessity of receiving help from others, both inside and outside of his family. Ulee is extremely independent in the beginning of the film, and he tends to isolate himself emotionally and socially because of the painful losses he has experienced in his life. Ulee must gradually find that caring for his family can be so much more than a responsibility; rather it becomes his joy to serve his family, as they truly become loved ones. This film shows that despite human efforts at autonomy, no man can carry the weight of life all alone and hope to be happy. In the same way that the bees work together, the Jackson family learns to work together in order to form their own kind of "gold," that is, love.
These themes are of course, conveyed through dialogue. The script includes some key lines of dialogue, which bring these themes into obvious focus. However, because the characters are very slow to reveal their true feelings verbally, this film relies heavily upon mise-en-scene (especially the setting, composition and characters" dress) to provide subtle, but effective direction toward the intended themes. This film is all about the transformations of characters and their relationships to one another.