Secrets & Lies
1996 (R) 142 min. United Kingdom
Director: Mike Leigh
Cast: Brenda Blethyn, Timothy Spall, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Phyllis Logan
A DISCUSSION SESSION WILL FOLLOW THE FILM IN THE STOCKER CINEMA HALL.
After her adoptive mother dies, Hortense, a successful black eye doctor, seeks out her birth mother. She’s shocked when her research leads her to a lower-class white woman, Cynthia. At first Cynthia denies the claim, but she eventually admits to birthing Hortense as a teenager, and the two begin to bond. However, when Cynthia invites Hortense to a family barbecue, Cynthia’s already tense relationship with her family becomes even more complicated. Cynthia lives in London with her sullen street-sweeper daughter. Her brother has been successful with his photographer’s business and now lives nearby in a more upmarket house. But Cynthia hasn’t even been invited round there after a year. So, all round, she feels rather lonely and isolated. The film deals with the pain we often hold inside along with our secrets, and the catharsis that can come by revealing those secrets. Mike Leigh’s direction is impressive as he creates a memorable family drama that surprises us with many nuances and for being so engaging, relying especially on two outstanding Oscar-nominated performances by Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
[The selection of this film is dedicated to the memory of my dear English friend, Ginger Byrne. – Robert Dudash, LCCC Film Society Director]
“A benchmark for comedy dramas, this award-winning 1996 film is a bonafide masterpiece.” – Tom Cassidy, COMMON SENSE MEDIA
“Much of SECRETS & LIES unfolds as if we’re peeking around corners, watching Mike Leigh’s characters struggle with personal, yet hidden, pain. Everyone in the film is hurting but unwilling to reach out to others in the family.” – David Harris, SPECTRUM CULTURE
“A masterful dramedy about that wonderfully, terribly complex thing we call family.” – James Kendrick, Q NETWORK FILM DESK
“It’s a beautifully performed British film which sensitively explores issues surrounding identity, race, roots and class.” – Nick Levine, NME
“SECRECTS & LIES is a mesmerizing film with the emotional stakes raised so high that each confrontation or revelation generates as much (or more) genuine suspense as
anything found in Hollywood’s latest thriller-of-the-week.” – Matt Branson, FILM FRENZY