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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Adorable, Amazing, Feel Good Film

10/10
Author: firthfantastic from United Kingdom
18 January 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A fabulous film,which I have now watched several times over since buying the video only four days ago.Yes I am a Colin Firth Fan and Colin was his usual talented, natural gorgeous self.

The interaction between Colin (Matthew Field)and Fissy(Sammy, Nimi's 7 year old Son) was very special and so natural to watch. They were hilariously funny together and also touched my heart strings. The scenes which I loved the most was Sammy and Matt sitting on the wall chatting and Matt then falling backwards off the wall in an hilarious fashion (I won't reveal the content of their discussion so as not to spoil the plot). Also very hilarious was Sammy quizzing Matt about sex, Colin and Fissy were perfect in this scene and making what can be an awkward subject between adult and child just so natural. Colins words and face at the end of that scene were so delightful and said it all! just brilliant. Credit, of course, must also go to Fissy Roberts for his delightful portrayal of Sammy. He played such a lovable and cheeky child character. The two actors were just perfect together.

The interaction between Colin (Matt) and Nia (Nimi)was perfectly balanced and I couldn't agree more that the chemistry between them was wonderful to watch, displaying love,tension and of course passion. It was exciting to see how their delicate blossoming romance gradually unfolded, also showing how their cultural and social divides affected their relationship and was good to see how Colin and Nia sensitively portrayed Matt and Nimi discovering, accepting and overcoming these differences. It kept me fixed to the TV and guessing right until the end of the film.

Colins portrayal of Matt's vulnerable and juvenile side was also perfectly portrayed, so much so, that I found it was difficult to watch when Matt was so mean and childish towards Sammy because he (Matt) felt that Sammy was getting in the way of his romance/relationship with Sams Mother Nimi.One couldn't help feeling very disappointed, angry and frustrated with Matt for treating Sammy this way and this in turn threatening to spoil Matts special relationship with Sammy and Nimi. Colins special talent of 'getting inside a character's head' and displaying to the audience the different sides of a character, was very much in evidence here and pure magic to watch. I must also mention that Colin also has such a good rapport with young actors (see also 'My life so far'a wonderful and not to be missed film).

I also loved the relationship between Matthew and his wife Jenny, both were excellent in displaying to the audience the dark side and tensions within their marriage and that not all seemingly 'Happy Marriages' are quite what they may seem from the outside.

I mustn't forget to mention the reverend whom I thought was very funny, in a serious sort of way! Also Nimi's Mother and family were hilarious as well as bringing across the importance of Nimi's culture and her situation.

The downside, I can't really find a downside,but to be objective about the film and to give credibility to my review, the only negative comment that I would make is that the script writers didn't explain in enough detail as to why Matt collapsed in the car, there was only a vague suggestion, from Nimi, of something being wrong with his heart. However, this didn't detract from my enjoyment of the film, far from it.I just needed to rewind the tape a little for a 2nd take.

I felt that this film had it all, entertaining, uplifting and I loved the rich colours and sunny scenery.The film warmed up a cold winters day and made me smile :-)) All the essential elements were there,laughter,love,tension,sadness,anger,drama and a Warm feel good factor, with, yes plenty of those delicious Colin Firth moments including a very soaked Colin in a 'Wet Shirt scene',not to be missed by any fan, what more could a girl want;-))

I would strongly recommend this film, specially to any Colin Firth Fans ;-)

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Fascinating.

8/10
Author: aramide_efua from London, England
31 December 1999

I've seen this movie twice already and am very impressed with it.

The conversations between Nimi and her mother plus Nimi and Matthew are very touching. The Nigerian community is shown very truthfully and as colourfully as it usually is.

Although certain things could have done with a bit more explanation; if we knew why Matthew was in the South of France in the first place, the scenes following Matthew being found in his car would be more understandable.

Luckily, Optimum Releasing have a website that has detailed production notes that help to make such scenes better to understand.

I would go and see it again but unfortunately it had a limited release in London and is not longer available to see. I hope the video release gets it to a bigger audience because the film deserves it.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

I agree with Dark, this movie was absolutely fantastic!

Author: Stufan4ever from California
18 June 2004

This is one of the best movies I've seen. Colin Firth is in rare form and this is just an enjoyable movie all around. Colin and Nia do have great chemistry together and the little boy is absolutely fascinating! I would love to have this movie in my collection it is a gem! It is nice to see traditions and non-traditions play out and to see African people portrayed as smart and not just in the jungle. I hope that wasn't offensive because it was not meant to be. I would love to know if I can find this movie on DVD. If anyone knows where I can find it, please let me know. The movie is insightful and shows Nia's great acting range. She has always been a good actress and proves it with this performance.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

The heart sees what the eye cannot

10/10
Author: lovinglife from United States
18 February 2005

This is a great movie. When two people from different backgrounds and social status think that they have nothing to offer each other and in the end they what each other needs it a testament to what the heart knows. Sometimes we wonder why one man is with a woman or vise versa and the outward appearances say one thing to our eye, but what they offer each other from within that we cannot see is amazing and unexplainable. When Nimi thought that Matthew had nothing to offer her and when Matthew was only looking for a fling (because he had an open marriage w/his wife Jenny), in the end they realized that they could not and did not want to exist without the other. It was worth it to them to resist what family and friends thought and what society said was right to be with each other. This movie kind of restores my faith in love.

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14 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

I simply love this movie!!!

10/10
Author: darkteilani from Munich, Germany
23 January 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

*Warning! Some spoilers!*

Matt, a rich writer, is in fact still just a boy in his behaviour. He doesn't care about anyone's but his own needs and couldn't care less about the consequences of any of his actions. Just as he gets to know Nimi and her bonds with her familiy and her communitiy he starts to feel that something is missing in his live.

He starts to realize that he is in fact lonely and stuck in impersonal structures that are just convenient but lack heart and commitment. Nevertheless he shies away from any responsibilties and is reluctant to change his live. But will he be able to settle again in his old life and ignore the bonds he's already - unconsciously - formed?

Nimi's situation is the absolute opposite. She is pressed into the regulations of her Nigerian community, its prejudices and its medieval values. Being a single mother her position is difficult and it gets even worse when she falls in love with Matt, a white devil (as the Referend would say), a man who cannot commit. The women of the community plan to marry her to the Referend to end her single status and give Sammy "a name". But that would mean for Nimi to give up all independence and self-determination. But is there an alternative for her if she wants Sammy to be accepted and herself to become a respected member of the community?

This movie has it all: a very sensitive and sensual love story (with VERY sexy scenes of Matt and Nimi) and an endearing child who is eagerly matchmaking, a beautiful scenery in lively colours.

Colin Firth (*swoon*) and Nia Long show a great chemistry. It's just fantastic to watch them. And Fissy Roberts as Sammy is just to die for. You simply want to adopt him. I just love the way Sammy and Matthew talk to each other. They are both on the same level in many ways. Especially when Sammy asks Matt about Sex. This scene is absolutely adorable!!

Almost nothing to complain about.... wait! That's not true. One thing is not good: That the movie is not long enough! (Well, and maybe that the Referend is too bad and too silly to be convincing....)

10 of 10, by all means!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Single Mom's struggle: do what's expected or follow her heart?

9/10
Author: enrightnyc-1 from United States
7 May 2005

Personally, I think the movie is pretty good. It almost rates an 8. I liked the ethnography aspect as well as the gorgeous photography. Colin Firth's character isn't the most likable but he does a better than decent job with the role. The heroine, played by the beautiful Nia Long, is a familiar film heroine in that she's trying to do what she thinks is the best for her child -- marrying a respected member of her expatriate community -- while fighting her attraction for the "bad" man -- one who's not a member of her community (the "outsider"). Most of the film is about this mother's struggle: should she do what's expected of her, what she thinks is best for her son or should she follow her heart? I don't want to give away the ending. Let me just say that it's a feel-good movie with gorgeous location shots, exquisite African dress (it's worth seeing the film just for the women's brilliantly colored African clothing and headdresses), and likable characters overall. The actor who plays Nia Long's son is bright and adorable. The plot is a bit formulaic, but I liked the movie nonetheless. If you're a Colin Firth fan you MUST see this film. If you like chic flicks, see it. I think I'll watch it again tonight!

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

I really enjoyed this film!!!!

Author: spw143 from Philadelphia, PA
30 January 2005

I love Nia Long...and love Collin Firth. So I was very happy to see that they were in a movie together. Overall I thought the concept was good and the little boy very endearing.

I thought the movie was choppy at times but I think that was primarily due to poor editing...but the acting was solid and believable. The chemistry between the two main characters was understated but passionate.

I liked the differing cultures at work, the locale was so Belle and the colors were so vibrant from the Nigeran dress I only wished that this film was released here in the states...I had to get a poor copy from Ebay!

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Fascinating.

8/10
Author: aramide_efua from London, England
31 December 1999

I've seen this movie twice already and am very impressed with it.

The conversations between Nimi and her mother plus Nimi and Matthew are very touching. The Nigerian community is shown very truthfully and as colourfully as it usually is.

Although certain things could have done with a bit more explanation; if we knew why Matthew was in the South of France in the first place, the scenes following Matthew being found in his car would be more understandable.

Luckily, Optimum Releasing have a website that has detailed production notes that help to make such scenes better to understand.

I would go and see it again but unfortunately it had a limited release in London and is not longer available to see. I hope the video release gets it to a bigger audience because the film deserves it.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

I love it!

8/10
Author: Terri (cool_mama17) from Westcliff, England
23 May 2001

I love this film. There is something for everyone. It if funny, saddening, passionate and dramatic. The mixture of two completely different cultures creates a whole new world that the viewer cannot help but want to be a part of. I must admit that I am slightly biased, as Colin Firth is my favourite actor and so nothing that he does is wrong in my eyes (!), but in this film his tremendous acting talent is apparent and it is furthered even more by the beautiful acting of his co-star Nia Long. The problems that their love affair suffers makes it, ironically, more believable and the simple features like the contrast between the colours of Matthew's and Nimi's clothes alone, makes this film all the more enchanting. I defy anyone that cannot be moved by this story. I find it enchanting and have watched it at least ten times since I bought the film a week ago!

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Slightly sloppy, but it'll grow on you

6/10
Author: PaigeTurner from United States
9 June 2006

I wanted to love this movie. Everything seemed to be in place for an enjoyable, if not groundbreaking, film. It was set in southern France, good-looking and recognizable actors led the cast, and I really admired the vibrant African costumes, the proverbs and music. Despite all this, I didn't love it. Movies are supposed to convey their meaning at the first viewing, but "Secret Laughter" doesn't do that. Nimi and Matthew, as played by Long and Firth (both of whom have played romantic leads before and should have known better), radiate as much warmth and passion as dried fish. I used 'dried fish' deliberately, because it was one of a few - too few - strong lines and moments sprinkled throughout the film. Another winner was when Nimi catches Matthew snooping around her apartment. He finds a book of hers with her first name written on it and says: "Your name is Nimi. I never knew." Then he insists that she call him by his Christian name. I watched this scene intently as Matthew asked Nimi over and over to "say my name", realizing that up until that moment, they always called each other by their last names. I thought this was a turning point for the film, and expected that it get better. It didn't. Why do Nimi and Matthew always seem to stand at ten paces, even in that "say my name" scene? What does Matthew like about Nimi, aside from her obvious beauty? And why would a sensible woman like Nimi fall for a comic book writer who regards his marriage as something he can put on hold when a beautiful exotic 'adventure' comes along? And I'd like to add that it was a little hard for me to get behind a romance built on adultery. Yes, Jenny is a vicious harpy, but if I were in her shoes, but I'd probably match her Cruella tactics to stop my husband from straying. Believe it. The story hints at Nimi's painful past, but never fully explores it. Some critics say Firth seemed a little awkward here, and I agree. For goodness sake, the actor summoned more palpable longing and passion as that early 19th-century snob Mr. Darcy (and while wearing those hideous britches)! As for Long, who did shine in 'Love Jones', there were times when she seemed to concentrate more on her accent than playing her character. Even so, there were many moments – the 'say my name' scene among them – when she was in total control and came across really well.

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