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.
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A beautiful little gem of a movie. Only wish it was currently on DVD.Published 9 months ago by MarkAntony
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.Published 17 months ago by Brenda Bourne
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.Published 17 months ago by Nat.Hort.
I would be dishonest if I did not compliment Leigh and his cast on such beautifully acted roles interwoven in such a sweetly told story, but why on Earth do movie makers persist in... Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2004 by SusScrofa
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. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2003 by Eddie Konczal
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... Read morePublished on Aug. 26 2003 by David L Rattigan
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... Read morePublished on July 29 2003 by Kimberly A-Oden
I am a Brenda Bleythen fan, although I found her voice annoying in this film! She plays Cynthia, the 40something single mother of Roxanne, who is about to turn 21. Read morePublished on March 29 2003 by momazon