« Management | Main | Star Trek »

May 01, 2009

SECRETS & LIES — CLASSIC FILM PICK

Secrets and liesAfter years of working in British television, and making four impressive features that included "Bleak Moments" (1971) and "Naked" (1993), Mike Leigh firmly established himself internationally as Britain's version of John Cassavetes.

"Secrets and Lies" is a revealing familial drama of untold emotional depth, social import, and narrative complexity. Few films have ever achieved such precise sharp satire as Leigh's beautiful effort. 

Marianne Jean-Baptiste plays Hortense Cumberbatch, a twenty-something black optometrist living in London. Familial storm clouds brew when Hortense traces her family tree after the death of her adoptive mother.

The biological trail leads reveals that Hortense's mother is a working class white woman named Cynthia Purley (Brenda Blethyn).

Leigh spent many months of preparation with his actors doing improvisation workshops in order to create a script that carries a super-natural sense of realism and elemental truth.

Its centerpiece is an unbroken 8-minute shot of Hortense and Cynthia meeting in an empty restaurant for tea where walls of defenses gradually come crumbling down as the truth of their relationship is revealed.

Secrets & lies

Every performance from Leigh's brilliant ensemble of actors, that include Timothy Spall and Phyllis Logan, is a thing of rare dramatic authenticity. Blethyn and Jean-Baptiste are extraordinary in their restraint, humor, and spontaneity. The film's also-unbroken climatic social scene elevates its primordial familial fabric into an ethereal tapestry of emotions and motivations where every ancient thread of untruth is pulled out along with other lies that have attached themselves over the years.

Secrets & lies

Much more than just a touching story of the ties that bind humanity and the ways we divulge our true identities, "Secrets & Lies" (1996) is a staggering work of cinematic genius. It is truly a perfect film.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Cole Smithey on Patreon

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos

COLE SMITHEY’S MOVIE WEEK

COLE SMITHEY’S CLASSIC CINEMA

Throwback Thursday


Podcast Series