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Secrets & Lies

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Secrets & Lies

Starring: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn
Director: Mike Leigh
Rated: NR
RunTime: 142 Minutes
Release Date: September 1996
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Phyllis Logan, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Claire Rushbrook, Ron Cook, Lesley Manville, Elizabeth Berrington, Michele Austin, Lee Ross

Review by Walter Frith
3 stars out of 4

Director Mike Leigh has the uncanny knack for making real life situations about ordinary people sincere, heartfelt and entertaining. His latest film 'Secrets and Lies' is no exception and could be the best film in Leigh's career. The movie is set in the U.K. and a young black woman named Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) sets out to find her birth mother after she has laid to rest her adoptive parents. It turns out that her real mother Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn) is a lonely, unmarried and pathetic woman who lives with her resentful and hostile daughter Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook). Cynthia is shocked in a very frightful way to receive a phone call from her long lost daughter some twenty-seven years later and the two of them arrange to meet. Cynthia's brother Maurice (Timothy Spall) is a successful photographer whose wife Monica (Phyllis Logan) prefers the finer things in life and her materialism is an unfair quality to her husband who is a 'down-to-Earth' kind of guy. Their life is the sub-text of this movie and the two families are interwoven in a blistering climax which plays out like a wonderful stage play involving a quirky and confused cast of characters coming to grips with the realities of life. 'Secrets and Lies' is one of the best films of the year and proves that smaller films are sometimes better than the big budget Hollywood offerings in which executives call the shots poorly rather than filmmaker's like Mike Leigh who call them brilliantly.

Copyright 1997 Walter Frith

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