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Secrets & Lies (1996)

 -  Drama  -  25 October 1996 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 23,860 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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Title: Secrets & Lies (1996)

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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:
...
...
Monica Purley
...
...
...
...
Jane
Michele Austin ...
Dionne
...
Paul
...
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

The restaurant where Cynthia and Hortense meet for lunch is "Pasta Plus Restaurant", a family-run Italian restaurant on 62 Eversholt Street, Camden, London. The restaurant is still open to the public (Monday to Saturday) and is very close to Euston station. 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 Rose Purley: [to Hortense] You look more like me than m'daughter does!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest Films (2001) 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

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Honesty & Integrity
3 June 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of my very favorite movies of the last 10, even 20 years. For me, its greatness lies in the resonance of the story lines, the brilliant acting, (Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Timothy Spall all turned in Oscar-worthy turns, and the rest of the ensemble were all with them), and Mike Leigh's direction.

This is a feast of tremendous acting, by a most talented ensemble who really become their characters. The scenes play out very naturally, and you really feel a part of the story, with special empathy towards - in no particular order - Cynthia, Maurice and Hortense. As the film builds towards a showdown/climax at the birthday party, you can even take a step back and at least sympathize with Roxanne and even, Monica.

This rates 10/10 by this reviewer, who wishes that more directors - if they truly have a good story to tell - will shoot and edit the film in a way that appreciates the audience's intelligence and capacity to feel without being manipulated by a director's avant-garde(??) bag of tricks ...for comparison, perhaps see my scathing review of 21 Grams! What a contrast of styles!!!


55 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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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