My Old Addiction

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

Film Festivals:  Cannes 1996

Academy Award Nominations
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Brenda Blethyn as “Cynthia”)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Marianne Jean-Baptiste as “Hortense”)
Best Directing (Mike Leigh)
Best Picture (Simon Channing-Williams, producer)
Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen) (Mike Leigh)

Golden Globe Award
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama (Brenda Blethyn)

Best Motion Picture-Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Marianne Jean-Baptiste


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