IMDb > The Secret Life of Words (2005)
The Secret Life of Words
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The Secret Life of Words (2005) More at IMDbPro »

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Popularity: ?
Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
View company contact information for The Secret Life of Words on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 October 2005 (Spain) See more »
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
25 wins & 14 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Touching and Heartbreaking See more (55 total) »


  (in credits order)

Sarah Polley ... Hanna

Tim Robbins ... Josef
Sverre Anker Ousdal ... Dimitri (as Sverre Ousdal)

Javier Cámara ... Simon
Danny Cunningham ... Scott

Dean Lennox Kelly ... Liam (as Dean Lenox Kelly)

Daniel Mays ... Martin
Emmanuel Idowu ... Abdul

Eddie Marsan ... Victor

Steven Mackintosh ... Doctor Sulitzer

Julie Christie ... Inge

Reg Wilson ... Factory Manager

Leonor Watling ... Josef's friend's wife
Daphne Brown ... Old Lady on Bus
Muriel Hobson ... Old Lady on Bus
Joshua Miligan ... Child (as Joshua Milligan)
Sheelagh Smith ... Child
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Nina Marléne

Peter Wight ... Dullman (uncredited)

Directed by
Isabel Coixet 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Isabel Coixet 

Produced by
Agustín Almodóvar .... executive producer
Pedro Almodóvar .... executive producer
Brendan J. Byrne .... producer: UK
Isabel Coixet .... associate producer (as Miss Wasabi)
Mauricio Díez .... executive producer
Esther García .... producer
Colin McKeown .... line producer: UK
Javier Méndez .... associate producer
Jaume Roures .... executive producer
Cinematography by
Jean-Claude Larrieu (director of photography) (as Jean Claude Larrieu)
Film Editing by
Irene Blecua 
Casting by
Shaheen Baig 
Production Design by
Pierre-François Limbosch 
Costume Design by
Tatiana Hernández 
Makeup Department
Ainhoa Eskisabel .... hair stylist
Ana López-Puigcerver .... makeup designer (as Ana Lopez-Puigcerver)
Ana López-Puigcerver .... special makeup effects artist
Ana Urosa .... makeup assistant
Production Management
Nicolás Tapia .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Víctor Cuadrado .... third assistant director
Darren Fee .... third assistant director: UK
Laia Piñol .... third assistant director
Jesús Salcedo .... third assistant director
Andrew Tohill .... trainee assistant director: UK
Dani Torres .... first assistant director
Fernando Trullols .... second assistant director
Art Department
Alicia Arias .... scenic painter
Stephen Aspley .... swing gang: UK
Jim Barr .... on-set dresser: UK
Samanta Biurrun .... props assistant
Shane Bunting .... prop buyer: UK
Adam Copper .... swing gang: UK
Beverly Craig .... scenic painter: UK
Jorge de Soto .... second on-set dresser (as Jorge fernández de Soto)
Cole Doherty .... construction manager: UK
Aude-Line Duliere .... drawer
Serafín González .... on-set dresser
Victoria Gómez .... art department trainee
Shane Laverty .... swing gang: UK
Sean McKeown .... rigger: UK
Laura Musso .... assistant set decorator
Ivan Nesbitt .... swing gang: UK
Pilar Ordovás .... property master (as Pilar Ordovas)
Montse Palacin .... food stylist
Nigel Pollock .... art director: UK
Sean Scott .... scenic painter: UK
Paul Stewart .... assistant art director: UK
Liam Taylor .... rigger: UK
Ricard Zaplana .... storyboard artist
Sound Department
Aitor Berenguer .... sound mixer
Juan Dibarboure .... boom operator
Patrick Ghislain .... foley mixer
Patrick Ghislain .... re-recording mixer
Simon Kerr .... boom operator: UK
Julien Martin .... assistant sound
Julien Naudin .... foley artist: Spain
Fabiola Ordoyo .... sound designer
Fabiola Ordoyo .... supervising sound editor
Jaume Puig .... sound consultant: Dolby
Deke Thompson .... boom operator: UK
David Álvarez .... assistant sound mixer: Spain (as David Alvarez)
Visual Effects by
Félix Bergés .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
Montse Capdevila .... digital compositor: Molinare (as Montserrat Capdevila)
Gonzalo Carrión .... cg artist
Nacho Cepero .... digital compositor: Molinare
Carlos Cervera .... digital effects producer: Molinare
Eduardo Díaz .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
Juancho Fernández .... digital compositor: Molinare
David Flores de Vargas .... digital transfer artist: Molinare
Carmen García .... digital compositor: Molinare
Roberto Girón .... infographist 3D artist: Molinare
Juanjo González .... infographist 3D artist: Molinare
Tomás González .... digital compositor: Molinare
Ñaña González .... digital compositor: Molinare
Pablo Hernández-Meléndez .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
Juancar Irarrazabal .... digital compositor: Molinare
Javier Jiménez .... digital timer: Molinare
Joaquín Jordán .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
Javier Luján .... digital transfer artist: Molinare
Edu Mateos .... digital graphic artist: Molinare
Oceano Mateos .... digital compositor: Molinare (as Océano Mateos)
Inma Nadela .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
Guillermo Orbe .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
Ferran Piquer .... digital effects supervisor: Molinare
Pablo Polo .... digital effects producer: Milinare
Johnny Raphael .... digital graphic artist: Molinare (as Johnny Raphael Sardi)
Thorsten Rienth .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
Rubén Rivas .... digital graphic artist: Molinare
Yela Román .... digital effects producer: Molinare
Rafa Solorzano .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito (as Rafael Solórzano)
Carlos Trijueque .... digital effects artist: El Ranchito
José Miguel Zapata .... digital artist: Orange window
Camera and Electrical Department
Alberto Arnal .... best boy electric
Miguel Ángel Bardavio .... camera loader: second unit
Saturnino Beltrán .... first assistant camera: second unit
Raymond Carlin .... grip assistant: UK (as Ray Carlin)
Isabel Coixet .... camera operator
Noah Davis .... clapper loader: UK
Jesús Fernández Santa .... key grip (as Jesús Fernández)
Kiko Garcia .... still photographer
Juan Manuel García .... best boy electric (as Juan Manuel Garcia)
Emile Girao .... camera loader
Juan Carlos Gorriz .... first assistant camera
Emilio Guirao .... second assistant camera
Glynn Harrison .... crane operator: UK
Isaías Ibáñez .... gaffer
Conor Kelly .... focus puller: UK
Brian Livingstone .... electrician: UK
Steven Livingstone .... electrician: UK
Sergio Mantecón .... best boy electric
Brett McCrum .... electrician: UK
Giancarlo McDonnell .... electrician: UK (as Carlo McDonnell)
Enrique Pérez .... best boy electric
José Reboul .... best boy electric (as José Manuel Reboul)
Laura Sanchez-Vizcaino .... video assist operator (as Laura Sánchez Vizcaino)
Casting Department
Ana Sanz .... casting: Spain
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Laura Agustín .... assistant costume designer
Donna Hughes .... costume assistant: UK
Genoveva Leco .... costumer
Roberto Marchetti .... wardrobe assistant
Raimondo Rudilla .... wardrobe assistant
Susan Scott .... costume assistant: UK
Rachael Webb-Crozier .... costume assistant: UK
Editorial Department
Felisa Catalinas .... post-production coordinator
Noemí Dulau .... scanner
Florencia Handler .... scanner
David Rocher .... color grader
Pilar Rodriguez .... negative cutter
Óscar Romero .... additional editor
María Jesús Sánchez .... negative cutter (as Maria Sánches-Morate)
Georgia Wyss .... additional editor
Chema Alba .... restoration supervisor (2016 restoration) (uncredited)
Location Management
Aaron Gray .... location scout: UK
Paddy McCarney .... location manager: UK
Wally Mount .... location assistant: UK
Nick Walker .... location assistant: UK
Andrew Wilson .... location manager: UK
Laura Livingstone .... location assistant (NIFTC) (uncredited)
Music Department
Isabel Coixet .... music supervisor (as Miss Wasabi)
Radoka Rapaic .... vocal coach: Sarah Polley
Transportation Department
Ian Lewis .... driver: action vehicles
Roy McManus .... driver: cast
Other crew
Yuyi Beringola .... script supervisor
Bridgeen Bradley .... unit nurse: UK
Brian Breathnach .... runner: UK
Brian Breathnach .... translator: UK
Michael Canning .... production assistant: UK
Stephen Darragh .... runner: UK
Adela Donamaría .... production secretary
Patrick Duncan .... extras coordinator: UK
Diego Farias .... second production assistant
Concha Fontenla .... second production assistant
Covadonga R. Gamboa .... production coordinator
Lola García .... office manager (as Lola Garcia)
Javier Giner .... international relations
Beatriz Gordo .... assistant production accountant
Clem Leneghan .... Safety Advisor
Simon MacDermott .... animal handler: UK
Ascen Marchena .... production coordinator
Sarah Louise Maskey .... production accountant: UK
Joseph McAuley .... production assistant: UK
Marisa Mohedano .... production coordinator
Yuriria Montero .... production assistant
Rafael Pajares .... second production assistant
Diego Pajuelo .... financial manager
Deborah Palomo .... publicist
Bárbara Peiró .... international relations (as Bárbara Peiró)
Juanlo Prada Garrudo .... production assistant (as Juan Lorenzo Prada)
Radoka Rapaic .... dialect coach: Sarah Polley (as Radokja Rapaic)
Javier Ruiz .... administration assistant
María Paz Sancho .... receptionist
Silvia Sancho .... assistant production accountant
Rosa María Serrano .... administration assistant
Óscar Valero .... production accountant (as Oscar Valero)
Michelle Walsh .... production coordinator: UK
Camille Watson .... production assistant: UK
Aislinn Whyte .... production coordinator: UK
Arancha Yusti .... assistant production accountant (as Arancha Yuste)
John Berger .... dedicatee
Inge Genefke .... dedicatee

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
115 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The story about a nurse named Cora that Josef tells to Hanna is a short-story named "La señorita Cora" by argentinean writer Julio Cortázar from his book "Todos los fuegos el fuego".See more »
Plot holes: If an employee requires medical treatment on an off-shore installation he would immediately be evacuated off.See more »
Josef:I thought um, you and I, maybe we could go away somewhere. Together. One of these days. Today. Right now. Come with me.
Hanna:No, I don't think that's going to be possible.
Josef:Why not?
Hanna:Um, because I think that if we go away to someplace together, I'm afraid that, ah, one day, maybe not today, maybe, maybe not tomorrow either, but one day suddenly, I may begin to cry and cry so very much that nothing or nobody can stop me and the tears will fill the room and I won't be able to breath and I will pull you down with me and we'll both drown.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Mr. Nobody (2009)See more »
Hope There's SomeoneSee more »


How does it end?
See more »
16 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Touching and Heartbreaking, 3 August 2008
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In Ireland, the introspective deaf worker Hanna (Sarah Polley) is forced to take vacations by her boss after four years service in a factory. She travels, but when she overhears a phone conversation in a restaurant, she offers to nurse a burned worker with fractures and temporarily blind in a decommissioned oil rig. Joseph (Tim Robbins) seriously wounded after risking his life to rescue a colleague that committed suicide jumping in a fire and need to stay for a while in the platform to stabilize his health condition. Hanna is a lonely woman, with the paranoid behavior of eating white rice, chicken nuggets and apple everyday and never repeating the soap, and she slowly interacts with the few workers first, opening her heart to Joseph later and disclosing her traumatic experience in her old country.

"The Secret Life of Words" is a touching and heartbreaking romance, with an awesome screenplay and wonderful performances of Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins. The dramatic story develops perfectly the characters and in spite of the happy-end, it is never corny. The sensitive direction of Isabel Coixet, from the stunning "My Life Without Me" with the same Sarah Polley, is top-notch again. The process of re-socialization of Hanna, who was dead inside and reborn after meeting Joseph, is intense. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "A Vida Secreta das Palavras" ("The Secret Life of Words")

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