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The Secret Life of Words (2005)

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A hearing impaired factory worker gives up her first holiday in years and instead travels out to an oil rig, where she cares for a man suffering from severe burns.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sverre Anker Ousdal ...
Dimitri (as Sverre Ousdal)
Danny Cunningham ...
Dean Lennox Kelly ...
Liam (as Dean Lenox Kelly)
Emmanuel Idowu ...
Factory Manager
Josef's friend's wife
Daphne Brown ...
Muriel Hobson ...


Hannah, who wears a hearing aid, is forced to go on holiday. On holiday she manages to find a job: caring for Josef, a burn victim on an oil rig who temporarily lost his sight, until he's stable enough to be transferred. There is almost no one on the rig, except a cook, an oceanographer and a few others out at sea. Hannah tends to Josef and he slowly breaks her shell of silence. Written by Yonatan Doron (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | holiday | oil rig | factory | burn | See All (124) »


Drama | Romance


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

21 October 2005 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

The Secret Life of Words  »

Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,309 (USA) (15 December 2006)


$20,023 (USA) (4 May 2007)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The oil rig used was the Borgholm Dolphin rig that was docked in Belfast at the time. See more »


When she arrives at the oil rig by helicopter, Hanna is not wearing a transit or immersion suit. Wearing this is obligatory when travelling to off-shore installations in the North Sea. See more »


Victor: He doesn't like to be with the others. He's a loner, too.
Hanna: There are many of us.
See more »


References Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964) See more »


Forever Now and Then
Written by Eef Barzelay
Performed by Clem Snide
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Secret's Poetry
23 October 2005 | by ( – See all my reviews

I went to see this last Isabel Coixet's movie three hours ago and its beautiful and powerful story is still bouncing in my head... the sea, Tim Robbin's eyes, Hanna's beautiful voice and her intense way of holding her feelings, Simon's delightful food in the middle of nowhere..

The way it is conceived is somehow simple, a mysterious woman, in my opinion extremely well resolved by Sarah Polley, happens to arrive to a remote place where a bunch of loners have just had a deep dramatic experience. As explicitly mentioned in the movie, 'God makes them..' ('Dios los cria'.., in Spanish), and so as she gets there she expands and relaxes in this environment where no one really expects anything from anybody.

The takes are so beautiful, the thousand different feelings that the same isolated landscape in the middle of the sea projects through the movie is unbeatable. The cast of characters is solid, and the supporting characters are developed enough so as to allow the viewer to understand, in basic terms, what brought them there.

Finally, the use of Tom Waits for the final transition is sublime! but, yeah, how could it not be? Tom Waits's music is the music for these films where the very deep of the heart is at stake.

So, yes, I do recommend this movie for anyone who cares or wants to care or would like to be able to care about people who have been profoundly wounded at some point. And this, I am afraid, hopefully includes you. Thanks Isabel.

94 of 109 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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