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Secrets & Lies

Timothy Spall , Brenda Blethyn , Mike Leigh    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 126.15
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Product Description


If a film fan had never heard of director Mike Leigh, one might explain him as a British Woody Allen. Not that Leigh's films are whimsical or neurotic; they are tough-love examinations of British life--funny, outlandish, and biting. His films share a real immediacy with Allen's work: they feel as if they are happening now. Leigh works with actors--real actors--on ideas and language. There is no script at the start (and sometimes not at the end). Secrets and Lies involves Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), an elegant black woman wanting to learn her birth mother's identity. She will find it's Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn), who is one of the saddest creatures we've seen in film. She's also one of the most real and, ultimately, one of the most lovable. Timothy Spall is Cynthia's brother, a giant man full of love who is being slowly defeated by his fastidious wife (Phyllis Logan).

There is a great exuberance of life in Secrets & Lies, winner of the Palme D'Or and best actress (Blethyn) at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival--not Zorba-type life but the little battles fought and won every day. Leigh's honest interpretation of daily life is usually found only on the stage. Secrets & Lies is more realistic than a stage production, however, especially when Leigh shows us uninterrupted scenes. Critic David Denby states that Leigh has "made an Ingmar Bergman film without an instant of heaviness or pretension." If that sounds like your cup of tea, see Secrets & Lies. --Doug Thomas

Product Description

After her adoptive parents die, a young black woman seeks out her natural birth mother, only to discover her mother is white, thus setting in motion the revelation of a whole series of secrets and lies.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By adriana
Format:VHS Tape
This is a little known but absolutely wonderful film that, corny as this sounds, deserves to be shared by many.A small film about a family and the small day to day trials and tribulations they go through.It's very realistic and deals with the the most average everyday things.What makes this film so amazing is how it is able to present this window into the lives of this group of people with such wit and insight, sadness and honesty; ultimately resulting in a film which is tender and uplifting and hopeful.
Tha acting is simply awesome. No other words to put it.Everyone from Brenda Blethyn to Timothy Spall to Marianna Jean Baptiste, to Claire Rushbrook, all take turns stealing scenes in performances that are so natural and on point that at times, it doesn't even feel like they're acting. This is true acting that cuts straight to the heart.The script is wonderful in that it provides so many little details that one wouldn't think to include in a movie. Just the smallest things which somehow bring the characters to life.
A wonderful film that is never going to get any acclaim because this is all about the actors.No special effects or halle berry sex scenes. No way-this is an actor's film.And they steal the show.If you have taste in REAL cinema, do not miss this gem of a movie.IT IS SIMPLY WONDERFUL.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love This Movie April 1 2014
I saw this movie many years ago, and it is one that has stayed with me. The story is excellent, the acting is superb. I am going to buy this DVD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie ! March 6 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
My daughter is named after Hortensia in this film. The name is nice and the personality of the "personnage" is great. This is a subtile film for all Mike Leigh lovers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 27 2014
By Kriti
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
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4.0 out of 5 stars On How Life Is Feb. 4 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This superbly acted and written drama is certainly one of the best british movies of the 90`s, dealing with human feelings and relationhips in an unique, realistic and powerful way. Like the best british movies out there, it wisely combines drama and comedy, creating a meaningful portrayal of life.
The story focuses a young black woman`s (Marianne Jean-Baptiste)quest to find her real mother who abandoned her as a child (Brenda Blethyn). Problem is, her mother`s life is currently a mess and that new element ends up generating some problems, conflicts and tensions in the family.
Mike Leigh`s direction offers time and room for his actors to develop the characters, creating three-dimensional individuals who seem real everyday people. The scenes are very well crafted, with close attention to detail and strong, credible dialogue. The performances are all terrific and natural, and the story flows well although the pace is a bit slow at times. It`s certainly one of the most interesting movies about family ties and the need of belonging somewhere, also focusing the differences and personality flaws that keep people away from each other.
At times sad and moving, in other moments cheerful and uplifting, "Secrets & Lies" presents the necessary but at times difficult experience of family reunion in a realistic way.
A worthwile, poignant drama with much to recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful emotional experience Oct. 14 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This film is possibly the most emotionally powerful film I have ever seen. I have never cared more for a group of characters as I did for those in "Secrets and Lies." Director/writer Mike Leigh is famous for giving his actors the outlines of their characters and having them improvise most of their lines. This technique succeeds brilliantly here - you feel as if you're a part of these people's lives. All the actors turn in wonderful performances - Brenda Blethyn as the long-suffering poor single English mother, Marianne Jean Baptiste as a young black girl in search of her natural parents, Claire Rushbrook as Blethyn's rebellious daughter, and Phyllis Logan as Blethyn's well-to-do yet frustrated sister in law. At the center of it all is a monumentally understated performance by Timothy Spall, who as Blethyn's brother attempts to hold everyone's lives together as they face the pain of their ordinary existence. A truly moving film that is one of the best ever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Leigh's greatest? Aug. 26 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Sit back and savour the genius of the master storyteller, Mike Leigh. In Secrets and Lies, Leigh draws incredible, multi-dimensional performances out of a talented cast headed by Brenda Blethyn and Timothy Spall; quite the finest performances I have seen in a Leigh film.
There is no need for lengthy analysis here. As usual, the director does not aspire to grandeur, but simply presents his characters with utter sincerity and conviction, and allowing us to travel with them on their journies. The tension culminates in a brilliantly acted climax and a touching, low-key final scene reminiscent of that of his earlier, and inferior, Life is Sweet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational July 30 2003
Format:VHS Tape
I didn't see this movie when it first came out, i waited till it came on Cable, and watched everytime it came on, and I love it so much, that I found myself working out to it, each time I saw different things, the actors, Timothy Spall one of my favorite actors and others did a very good job, I think its one of the best movies to view.
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