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Secrets & Lies (1996)

 -  Drama  -  25 October 1996 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 23,844 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 119 user | 59 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

Successful black woman traces her birth mother to a lower-class white woman, who denies it; emotions run high as everyone's secrets are exposed.

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 37 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Monica Purley
...
...
...
...
Jane
Michele Austin ...
Dionne
...
Paul
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Social Worker
...
Stuart
Emma Amos ...
Girl with Scar
Brian Bovell ...
Hortense's Brother
Trevor Laird ...
Hortense's Brother
Clare Perkins ...
Hortense's Sister-in-Law
Elias Perkins McCook ...
Hortense's Nephew
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Storyline

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. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Hortense, adopted at birth but now grown up, starts to try and trace her mother. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Roxanne drives her mother crazy. Maurice never speaks to his niece. Cynthia has a shock for her family. Monica can't talk to her husband. Hortense has never met her mother.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 October 1996 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Secrets & Lies  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

JPY 8,507,150 (Japan) (20 December 1996)

Gross:

$13,417,292 (USA) (16 May 1997)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To add a spontaneous effect to the performances, Mike Leigh met with each actor individually and only told them what their character would know at the beginning of the film. As filming progressed the actors were hearing the secrets for the very first time. Brenda Blethyn, for instance, didn't know that Marianne Jean-Baptiste was black. See more »

Goofs

When Roxanne pushes Cynthia onto the bed, the shadow of a crew member's head is seen moving on the bed. See more »

Quotes

Maurice: Secrets and lies! We're all in pain! Why can't we share our pain? I've spent my entire life trying to make people happy, and the three people I love the most in the world hate each other's guts, and I'm in the middle! I can't take it anymore!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Mike Leigh in Conversation (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
Words by Patty S. Hill & Mildred J. Hill (as Mildred Hill)
© Keith Prowse Music Pub Co. Ltd./EMI
Sung by the family at Hortense's birthday party
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Winning performances
25 October 2004 | by (Carrboro, NC, USA) – See all my reviews

This is a lovely, small film with beautiful performances by Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. It is filled with comical moments that balance out some of the heavier parts of the film. My heart went out to the two lead characters as they struggled to make sense of the mutual bond unearthed by Ms. Jean-Baptiste's character. At once confused, hurt, shocked and afraid, Ms. Blethyn is completely convincing in her role. I was moved by her decision to enter into a relationship with this woman whom she had never before met. Perhaps the fact that Ms. Blethyn and Ms. Jean-Baptiste had never been introduced prior to the scene in which their two characters meet added to the realism of that moment. And Ms. Jean-Baptiste's portrayal of a woman who is surprised by her discovery and not a little disappointed was dead-on, as is her dogged determination to get what she came after.

If you are searching for a movie brimming with action, special effects, and/or blockbuster stars you need to pass this over. But if you are in the mood for a film that offers winning performances and an entertaining storyline that grows out of human interaction, this is the one you're looking for! "Secrets & Lies" is a gem of a movie!


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Recent Posts
Hortence's Father lps_darlo
Hortense's wardrobe cyweyman
Hortense is supposed to be mixed race??? markcody
How Could She Not Know Patty-76
Secrets and Lies is a poor film...worst film I've seen. willywonka-3
mike leigh, some critisisms rollingstone2001
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