Secrets And Lies


(out of 5)

Working from a script Mike Leigh wrote based on his performers’ improvisational work in rehearsals, actors  and  come as close to true-to-life acting as can be expected; you might sometimes feel like you’re watching a documentary. Blethyn plays Cynthia, an aging, working-class white woman who is found by Hortense (Jean-Baptiste), the black daughter she had given up for adoption at birth years before. Unlike the usual murky British kitchen-sink dramas, this one has warmth, talent and beauty to the nth degree, plus a fantastic supporting cast with stories of their own: Cynthia’s brother and sister-in-law (, ) can’t have children, and Cynthia’s daughter Roxanne () is unhappy and resentful about everything that’s going on, especially with her birthday coming up. It all comes out in a climactic, all-stops-out, tear-inducing dinner scene in the third act.   is terrific as the social worker who helps Hortense find her mother.

Channel Four Films, CiBy 2000, Thin Man Films

France/United Kingdom, 1996

Directed by 

Screenplay by Mike Leigh

Cinematography by 

Produced by

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by

Academy Awards 1996

Boston Film Critics Awards 1996.  

Cannes Film Festival 1996

Golden Globe Awards 1996

Independent Spirit Awards 1996.

National Board of Review Awards 1996.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s