IMDb > Secrets & Lies (1996)
Secrets & Lies
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Secrets & Lies (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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Secrets & Lies -- 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.

Overview

User Rating:
8.0/10   24,270 votes »
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Up 65% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Mike Leigh (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for Secrets & Lies on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
25 October 1996 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
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.
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 36 wins & 24 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(9 articles)
Bingham Ray, indie film champion, dies at 57
 (From EW.com - Inside Movies. 23 January 2012, 12:24 PM, PST)

Producer Channing-Williams Dead
 (From WENN. 14 April 2009, 5:05 AM, PDT)

4 light fire under Fox's 'Ember'
 (From The Hollywood Reporter. 13 July 2007)

User Reviews:
3-bucket tearjerker of hiding one's pain in plain sight See more (119 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Timothy Spall ... Maurice Purley

Phyllis Logan ... Monica Purley

Brenda Blethyn ... Cynthia Rose Purley

Claire Rushbrook ... Roxanne Purley

Marianne Jean-Baptiste ... Hortense Cumberbatch

Elizabeth Berrington ... Jane
Michele Austin ... Dionne

Lee Ross ... Paul

Lesley Manville ... Social Worker

Ron Cook ... 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
Jane Mitchell ... Senior Optometrist (as June Mitchell)
Janice Acquah ... Junior Optician
Keylee Jade Flanders ... Girl in Optician's (as Keeley Flanders)

Hannah Davis ... First Bride
Terence Harvey ... First Bride's Father
Kate O'Malley ... Second Bride

Joe Tucker ... Groom
Richard Syms ... Vicar

Grant Masters ... Best Man
Annie Hayes ... Mother in Family Group
Jean Ainslie ... Grandmother
Daniel Smith ... Teenage Son
Lucy Sheen ... Nurse

Frances Ruffelle ... Young Mother
Felix Manley ... Baby

Nitin Ganatra ... Potential Husband (as Nitin Chandra Ganatra)
Metin Marlow ... Conjuror
Amanda Crossley ... Raunchy Woman
Su Elliot ... Raunchy Woman (as Su Elliott)
Di Sherlock ... Raunchy Woman
Alex Squires ... Triplet #1
Lauren Squires ... Triplet #2
Sade Squires ... Triplet #3
Dominic Curran ... Little Boy
Stephen Churchett ... Man in Suit
David Neilson ... Man in Suit
Peter Stockbridge ... Man in Suit
Peter Waddington ... Man in Suit
Rachel Lewis ... Graduate

Paul Trussell ... Grinning Husband
Denise Orita ... Uneasy Woman
Margery Withers ... Elderly Lady
Theresa Watson ... Daughter
Gordon Winter ... Laughing Man

Jonny Coyne ... Fiancé (as Jonathan Coyne)
Bonzo ... Dog
Texas ... Cat

Peter Wight ... Father in Family Group

Gary McDonald ... Boxer

Alison Steadman ... Dog Owner
Liz Smith ... Cat Owner
Sheila Kelley ... Fertile Mother
Angela Curran ... Little Boy's Mother
Linda Beckett ... Pin-Up Housewife

Philip Davis ... Man in Suit
Wendy Nottingham ... Glum Wife
Anthony O'Donnell ... Uneasy Man

Ruth Sheen ... Laughing Woman
Mia Soteriou ... Fiancée
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Anna Pernicci ... Waitress (uncredited)

Directed by
Mike Leigh 
 
Writing credits
Mike Leigh (written by)

Produced by
Simon Channing Williams .... producer (as Simon Channing-Williams)
 
Original Music by
Andrew Dickson 
 
Cinematography by
Dick Pope (photographed by)
 
Film Editing by
Jon Gregory 
 
Casting by
Susie Parriss  (as Parriss)
Paddy Stern  (as Stern)
 
Production Design by
Alison Chitty 
 
Art Direction by
Eve Stewart 
 
Set Decoration by
Liz Griffiths (uncredited)
 
Costume Design by
Maria Price 
 
Makeup Department
Christine Blundell .... makeup artist
Kirstin Chalmers .... assistant hair stylist (as Kirstin Weguelin)
Kirstin Chalmers .... assistant makeup artist (as Kirstin Weguelin)
 
Production Management
Georgina Lowe .... production supervisor
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Zerlina Hughes .... third assistant director
Jennie Osborn .... first assistant director
Josh Robertson .... second assistant director
Chris Rose .... first assistant director
Paula Spinks .... fourth assistant director
 
Art Department
Hilly Benjamin .... assistant art director
Jim Booth .... art department assistant
Paul Cutler .... chargehand props
Martin Fitzpatrick .... property pick-up
Liz Griffiths .... production buyer
Guy Hunt .... stand-by carpenter
Peter Looby .... stand-by props
Nic Orlande .... construction manager
Tom Read .... dressing props
Nick Rose .... property master
Guy Rutter .... stand-by painter
Pete Lennox .... carpenter (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Sue Baker .... dubbing editor
Orin Beaton .... boom operator
Mick Boggis .... sound re-recording mixer
Diane Greaves .... foley walker
Michelle Greaves .... foley walker
Loveday Harding .... boom operator
Derek Holding .... adr editor
Derek Lomas .... dialogue editor
Peter Maxwell .... sound re-recording mixer
George Richards .... sound recordist
Ted Swanscott .... adr mixer
Ted Swanscott .... foley mixer
William Trent .... foley editor (as Bill Trent)
 
Visual Effects by
David Smith .... title opticals: Peerless (as Dave Smith)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Graham Baker .... rigger
Richard Blackmore .... generator operator
Lucy Bristow .... focus puller
Alan Coster .... electrician
Frank Cox .... best boy
Marco di Giulio .... electrician
Martin Duncan .... gaffer
Joe Dunton .... camera equipment
Joe Dunton .... camera rental
Simon Mein .... still photographer
Andy Ormesher .... rigger
Dan Shoring .... clapper loader
Colin Strachan .... camera grip
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Zoe Porter .... wardrobe trainee (as Zoë Porter)
Jackie Thomas .... wardrobe assistant
Allison Wyldeck .... costume supervisor
 
Editorial Department
Valentina Giambanco .... second assistant editor
Kate Mackenzie .... first assistant editor
Steve Mercer .... trainee editor: FT2
Clive Noakes .... color timer
Ian Seymour .... first assistant editor
Victoria Stevens .... trainee: FT2
 
Music Department
Chas Dickie .... musician: cello
Keith Grant .... music engineer
Michael Laird .... musician: flugelhorn
Step Parikian .... music supervisor
Helen Tunstall .... musician: harp
Ivo van der Worff .... musician: viola
Chris West .... musician: double bass
 
Transportation Department
Bill Nixon .... unit driver
Bianca Stone .... transportation
John Stone .... transportation
Bill Wright .... unit driver
 
Other crew
Chris Allies .... title designer
Mike Carter .... assistant location manager
Ian Differ .... trainee: FT2
Graham Easton .... completion bond: film finances services
Stephanie Fauger .... production coordinator (as Stephanie Faugier)
Phillip Kenny .... production executive
David Lewisohn .... solicitor: Theodore Goddard
Mark Mostyn .... location manager
Matthew Potts .... production runner
Deborah Reade .... assistant to producer
Roger Sampson .... insurance: Sampson and Allen
Heather Storr .... script supervisor
Iain Struthers .... trainee: FT2
Claire Thompson .... floor runner
Sarah Trowse .... assistant accountant
Will Tyler .... production accountant (as William Tyler)
Mark Westaway .... solicitor: Theodore Goddard
Karen Yeaman .... trainee: FT2
Raoul B. Reinert .... legal consultant (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated R for language
Runtime:
142 min | USA:136 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Metrocolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Most of the script was improvised. Writer/director Mike Leigh told each of the actors what his/her part in the story was and they each developed their own characters.See more »
Goofs:
Errors in geography: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Soundtrack:
Happy Birthday to YouSee more »

FAQ

Did Paul cause the accident that scarred the woman Maurice photographs?
See more »
12 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
3-bucket tearjerker of hiding one's pain in plain sight, 22 April 2006
Author: tom-darwin from United States

With modern films placing so much emphasis on visuals and sound & the stage specializing in avant-garde drama or comedy, it's rare to find old-fashioned storytelling outside of books. But it's rare at any time or in any medium to find a work combining such smartness & sensitivity as "Secrets & Lies." After the deaths of her adoptive parents, urbane young London optometrist Hortense (Jean-Baptiste) searches for her biological origins and locates her mother: alcoholic, neurotic, once-promiscuous factory worker Cynthia (Blethyn, in one of the finest film performances of all time). Each is stunned to find something about the other that neither knew: that the mother is white and the daughter is black! The film has sideplots rather than subplots, two other stories developed in depth, parallel to the main story, although Leigh masterfully uses them to support rather than weaken the central relationship between Cynthia & Hortense. Cynthia's daughter Roxanne (Rushbrook) is coming of age and exploring love, work and independence while struggling between the love, pity, resentment & disgust she holds for her mother. Cynthia's brother Maurice (Spall, a roly-poly, English Jimmy Stewart), a prosperous but overworked studio photographer, gives the family name a facade of middle-class respectability even as he & his wife Monica (Logan) carefully conceal an embarrassment of their own. Through a variety of small, seemingly random but fascinating illustrations like the Canterbury Tales, the film hammers home its theme: that lying & deception become not just easy but casual in an age that emphasizes individualism & responsibility, where you assume that no one, not even the closest of your relatives, wants to hear about your problems. Rather than help one another, each suffers alone, while every lie they so readily spin must constantly be fed with more deception. A story that could have been both preachy & crushingly depressing is cut with just the right amount of humor in all the right places, until the heartbreaking climax that is as powerful as any ever filmed. There isn't an air of judgment or lecturing morality, no attempt to make a sweeping commentary of society. If any such message is delivered it must be derived from the story. In a superb cast Blethyn stands out as the haunted, tormented Cynthia, hurt & angered by the contempt & pity she sees in the eyes of her brother, sister-in-law & daughter as she staves off nervous breakdown with the bottle. Yet she can't bring herself to turn away again from the child she gave up long ago, even though only she knows how much pain lies ahead if she doesn't. Jean-Baptiste provides a stark contrast as the cool-headed but intense young woman who might be repulsed by the coarse, painful world in which Cynthia lives, yet never shows any reluctance to enter it. There's a spareness about the film (so many scenes go without music that you're often surprised to remember that there IS a music score) that engrosses the viewer, making him concentrate, rather than giving an air of cheapness. It's not Shakespeare or Greek theater, since no one gets stabbed or finds out he's married his mother, but Tennessee Williams or Anton Chekhov would have been envious of this effort.

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