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Secrets & Lies (1996)

R  |   |  Drama  |  25 October 1996 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 26,591 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 124 user | 66 critic | 27 from Metacritic.com

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 39 wins & 28 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
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:

|

Language:

Release Date:

25 October 1996 (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)
 »

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

A statement of Hortense's suggests that her family comes from Barbados, and a stamp on a letter among her adoptive mother's papers is almost identifiable as Barbadian on my DVD, but when she puts on a West Indian accent in one scene, apparently imitating her mother, it sounds like broad Jamaican or generic "West Indian", certainly not Bajan, which is a very distinctive accent. See more »

Quotes

Cynthia: I can still turn a few heads...
Roxanne: ...and a few stomachs!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Footballers' Wives: Just Can't Give Up (2003) 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

So Brilliant
27 March 2004 | by (Portland, OR) – See all my reviews

I wish the USA had a director like Mike Leigh. His movies are amazing. "Secrets & Lies" traces the pain we often hold inside along with our secrets and the catharsis that can come by revealing them. Lives of quiet desperation within a family gradually find healing in this movie about adoption, children and the walls we build around ourselves for protection. There is a poignant metaphor in the brother Morris' career as a photographer, as his subjects attempt to cover the stories in their faces long enough to smile for the camera. This is an intense movie but it is not without beauty and hope.


44 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

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