"The Secret" stars David Duchovny as Ben Marris, a successful ophtalmologist who is happily married to Hannah [Lili Taylor of The Haunting]who is a housewife. They have a rebellious 16-year-old daughter Sam [Olivia Thirlby]and from the beginning we can see the antagonism Sam feels towards her over-protective mother. Both mom and daughter head out on a weekend trip and an accident causes both to be critically wounded, eventually resulting in a bizarre occurence in which Hannah's spirit transfers over to Sam's body whilst Sam's spirit lingers somewhere in limbo-land.
The rest of the movie deals with how Ben comes to grips with this bizarre turn of events and how Hannah struggles to cope not only with having lost her material body, but having to try to 'find' her daughter's spirit within Sam's physical self, whislt at the same time traversing the tension-fraught life of a high school teen. Both Ben and "Hannah as Sam" also have trouble dealing with the weirdness of their situation as being deeply in love, they come to certain realisations about the impossible situation they are both in. Ben is torn between wanting to satisfy his and Hannah's emotional and sexual needs whilst not wanting to cross the boundaries presented by his own daughter's material body.
The leads do a credible job of portraying three individuals trapped in an intolerable situation, though it is Duchovny's Ben and Thirlby's Sam that carry the movie for the most part. Olivia Thirlby's performance as Samantha/Hannah is commendable as she portrays both mother and teen credibly. Viewers can really tell when she is playing either mother or daughter. Thirlby is definitely a young actor of promising talent based on this performance.
This is supposedly a remake of a Japanese movie titled Himitsu, and though I haven't watched the original, this movie can stand alone on its own merits. Though it has a supernatural premise, it never really delves too deeply into that aspect for the movie deals more with how individuals cope under strange circumstances. Ben and 'Hannah' do seem to accept the situation way too quickly [which did strike me as very odd], but at 1.5 hrs long, the movie really didn't have the luxury of time to go in depth into the topic of spirit transference/possession.
On the whole, I found "The Secret" to be quite an engrossing drama and well carried by credible acting.
For those viewers who are very much concerned about the taboo aspects of this movie, i.e. a dad having to deal with a daughter who has her mother's spirit residing within her and the physical issues of dealing with that, do not fret. The movie never crosses the line towards actual physical consummation nor any explicit displays of affection between Ben and "Hannah as Sam".