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Secrets & Lies (1996)

 -  Drama  -  25 October 1996 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 24,641 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 121 user | 61 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 38 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

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 Retired at 35: Secrets and Lies (2011) 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

superb comedy/drama
31 August 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Mike Leigh's superb comedy-drama of family relationships. Heart-rending, bitter and delightful by turn

Leigh's modern classic captured a brace of Oscar nominations but went home empty handed in the face of The English Patient's near clean sweep. Even Blethyn's Cannes-winning performance lost out to Frances McDormand's Fargo turn (hard to challenge this decision, although in any other year the brilliant Blethyn would have deserved to win). The film eventually racked up a considerable number of awards, its Oscar success aside.

The story, every bit as believable and real as the rest of Leigh's work, centres on a woman, Cynthia Purley (Blethyn ), whose mid-life crisis is further exacerbated by the appearance on the scene of the daughter she gave away at birth, the wonderfully named Hortense Cumberbatch (Baptiste) - a young, beautiful, professional black woman who causes a few eyebrows to be raised in the family, and forces Cynthia to come to terms with her past.

Alternating between high comedy, scathing one-liners (Blethyn telling daughter Rushbrook she has a face like a "slapped arse" is a moment to treasure) and tear-jerking poignancy, with Spall, Rushbrook and Baptiste all offering strong support, this is nothing short of superb.



Verdict A genuine hit for Mike Leigh, Secrets And Lies has the coarse grain of real life, sympathetically and affirmingly fashioned.


26 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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
Did Anyone Like Monica? AzaleaRose
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