Secrets & Lies

1996

Action / Drama

132
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 94%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91%
IMDb Rating 8 10 31537

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Marianne Jean-Baptiste as Hortense Cumberbatch
Lesley Manville as Social Worker
Timothy Spall as Maurice Purley
Phyllis Logan as Monica Purley
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
934.28 MB
1280*720
English
R
24.000 fps
2hr 16 min
P/S 3 / 28
2.06 GB
1920*1080
English
R
24.000 fps
2hr 16 min
P/S 5 / 16

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Raj Doctor 7 / 10

We all are in pain. Why can't we share it with each other?

Slowly I am becoming a big fan of Mike Leigh and his kind of film making. I like his style. I have a read a few interviews of his and the way we deals with his actors and executes his scenes and narration is a kind of new school of thought for me.

Secrets and Lies was one of the highly recommended movies of Mike Leigh, and it became pertinent for me to watch it.

It is story of Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) – a successful optometrist - who after her adopted mother dies, traces her birth- mother Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn) a working class lady living with her frustrated daughter Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook) a street cleaner. Slowly Hortense and Cynthia open up and build a LOVE-bond of mother- daughter which brings a new lease of life to Cynthia's mundane and problematic existence. When Cynthia invites Hortense to Roxanne's birthday party held at Cynthia's brother Maurice's (Timothy Spall) residence – the secrets are revealed of who is Hortense? Who was the father of Roxanne? Who was the father of Hortense? Why Maurice is still not having children?

The last half an hour is a roller coaster ride of tension and tear- jerking emotions. But all ends up well in the end. Secrets penetrate and each character empathizes with the other to live happily thereafter.

That is the strength of a good optimist positive director Mike Leigh that reflects a belief in good human nature and their goodness.

The acting of Brenda Blethyn as Cynthia is immaculate. She lives the traumatized hysterical yet endearing character to the hilt. Kudos to her! The other performance that stands out is of Timothy Spall as Maurice, whose character plays a nice binding force in the family.

There is an unnecessary sub-plot of Maurice at his photo-studio – which could have had been over-looked. What I like about director Mike Leigh is that he lets his characters flow naturally and takes their own life. Shows a lot of his theatre style where actresses are given freedom to improvise on the spot.

Secrets and Lies is for those who enjoy family movies that highlight good human relationships.

I would rate the movie 7.5 out of 10.

Reviewed by Vonia 5 / 10

Can you ever really like a film where the characters are difficult to care about?

Secrets & Lies (1996)

A character study. Multiple characters. Examining relationships, those with family, those with friends, those with ourselves. Denial and truth. The lengths we will go to achieve these things. How easily we learn to deceive not only our nearest and dearest, but even ourselves. Secrets and lies. Oh, how they tear us apart.

I was never bored. I was anxious to not have to listen to Cynthia Rose Purley's high pitched whining, part crying and part toddler throwing a fit. Her voice! That accent! "Sweeet- Art!" I did like her earrings. The same pair she wears throughout the entire film. Christ. Even when she finally tells her family the truth regarding Hortense- a genial affair- she starts crying, her entire face crumbling, sniffling and whining like a puppy dog.

Maybe I cannot blame her. After all, her daughter Roxanne treats her with fervent enmity. With a level of disrespect no one should deserve, let alone her mother who raised her so selflessly. Ironically, it is after she finds out that Cynthia has been lying to her, neglecting to tell her about her half-sister all these years, that she begins to treat her more kindly. Even Roxanne's lover Paul is grating, not saying much but somehow still effusing nonchalant lack of compassion for others.

The early parts with Maurice were filled with arguing, tension, and pessimism. ("Life isn't fair then is it. Somebody always draws the short straw.") Which would be fine if there were any payout. Sadly, I felt nothing but more depressed. As a photographer, I was entertained by the montage of customers in his studio (like the cosmetologist who scars her face in an accident and the couple who start out smiling and end up giving the most forced smiles after arguing about what will look good behind the lens). Cynthia is to Roxanne as Maurice is to Monica. That is to say, maybe we cannot blame him for his miserableness. His wife Monica does not seem to love him at all, if the way she treats him is any evidence. We later find out her inability to have children and unwillingness to share this with anyone else has caused extraordinary strain on their marriage.

What is with the score? Weird music and at awkward moments. A background score should be exactly that- in the background. Here, it is distracting.

The one thing that rescues the film is the one with the most unwieldy name, Hortense Cumberbatch. The main character- a young black woman who is at her mother's funeral in the introductory scene and spends the rest of the film hunting down and getting to know her white birth mother (despite her first trying to deny her parentage)- is played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste, whom I instantly recognized from her role in the "Without A Trace" series. Her performance was not flawless (like the other characters, a little overdone at times; which means it could more likely be attributed to the director's choice), but praiseworthy, especially considering this was only her second feature role. She was, by far, the most likable and relatable character. And she spends more than half of the film rolling her eyes or visibly wanting to. She seems to me to be as annoyed and fed up with the film as I was.

The last fifteen minutes of this film, on its own, would garner an exceptional rating from me (8). When the truth finally comes out. The performances actually shine; the characters are finally in the situational context in which their histrionics are not overdone but understandable. Unfortunately, I had to wait two hours to reach this point. Two hours that meandered unnecessarily; that could have accomplished what it set out to accomplish within a quarter of that time.

"Secrets and lies! We're all in pain! Why can't we share our pain?... You are a very brave person. You wanted to find the truth and you were prepared to suffer the consequences. I admire you for that. I mean it."

This is a character story. Thus, a little difficult to appreciate when the characters involved alternate between maddening and simply tiresome.

Reviewed by chaz_grgry 1 / 10

pile of rubbish

this is hands down the worst film I've watched in the last two years. 50 minutes past before the girl even met her biological mother. another hour passed before you could find out what happen. how can a fully black girl have a white mother. if the girl is meant to be mixed race then the casting people must be clueless. on top of this film doesn't even have a plot. do the filmmakers think that depicting someone crying a lot and showing the British version of depression is a story line? or that they are depicting something that your average person doesn't already understand. this film has no right to be over 2 hours and certainly no business having an 8 star rating. don't waste your time if u have anything worth doing with your day.

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