A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a lower-class white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 33 wins & 35 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
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Jane
Michele Austin ...
Dionne
...
Paul
...
...
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:

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Language:

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Secrets & Lies  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$60,813 (USA) (27 September 1996)

Gross:

$13,417,292 (USA) (16 May 1997)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

Cynthia's address on Hortense's birth certificate is shown as Quilter St, London SE17. The first time Hortense drives there, the street sign shows Quilter St, E2. See more »

Quotes

Cynthia Purley: But sweetheart, I can't be your mother!
Hortense Cumerbatch: Why not?
Cynthia Purley: Well... look at me!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Exhibit A (2007) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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!


51 of 54 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did Anyone Like Monica? AzaleaRose
Hortense is supposed to be mixed race??? markcody
Hortence's Father lps_darlo
Hortense's wardrobe cyweyman
Secrets and Lies is a poor film...worst film I've seen. willywonka-3
How Could She Not Know Patty-76
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