8.0/10
35,161
153 user 56 critic

Secrets & Lies (1996)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is an underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director:

Mike Leigh

Writer:

Mike Leigh
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 36 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Spall ... Maurice
Phyllis Logan ... Monica
Brenda Blethyn ... Cynthia
Claire Rushbrook ... Roxanne
Marianne Jean-Baptiste ... Hortense
Elizabeth Berrington ... Jane
Michele Austin ... Dionne
Lee Ross ... Paul
Lesley Manville ... Social Worker
Ron Cook ... Stuart
Emma Amos ... Girl with Scar
Brian Bovell Brian Bovell ... Hortense's Brother
Trevor Laird Trevor Laird ... Hortense's Brother
Clare Perkins Clare Perkins ... Hortense's Sister-in-Law
Elias Perkins McCook Elias Perkins McCook ... Hortense's Nephew
Learn more

More Like This 

Another Year (2010)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A look at four seasons in the lives of a happily married couple and their relationships with their family and friends.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville
Naked (1993)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A look at a few chapters in the life of Poppy, a cheery, colorful, North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In a poor working class London home Penny's love for her partner, taxi-driver Phil, has run dry, but when an unexpected tragedy occurs, they and their local community are brought together, and they rediscover their love.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen
Vera Drake (2004)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Abortionist Vera Drake finds her beliefs and practices clash with the mores of 1950s Britain--a conflict that leads to tragedy for her family.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Imelda Staunton, Jim Broadbent, Heather Craney
Life Is Sweet (1990)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A shop assistant, her cook husband, & their twin daughters ponder their lives over a few weeks in a working-class suburb north of London.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Claire Skinner
Career Girls (1997)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

2 young women reunite and rekindle their friendship after having said goodbye at their college graduation, six years earlier.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Katrin Cartlidge, Lynda Steadman, Kate Byers
High Hopes (1988)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The life of a working class couple living in London and their complicated relationships with other members of the family.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Phil Davis, Ruth Sheen, Edna Doré
Mr. Turner (2014)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson
Topsy-Turvy (1999)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Set in the 1880s, the story of how, during a creative dry spell, the partnership of the legendary musical/theatrical writers Gilbert and Sullivan almost dissolves, before they turn it all around and write the Mikado.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Dexter Fletcher
Peterloo (2018)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story of the 1819 Peterloo Massacre where British forces attacked a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Neil Bell
Bleak Moments (1971)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Moments from the uncompromisingly bleak existence of a secretary, her intellectually disabled sister, aloof and uneasy teacher boyfriend, bizarre neighbor and irritating workmate.

Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Anne Raitt, Sarah Stephenson, Eric Allan

Photos

Edit

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:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

To add a spontaneous effect to the performances, Mike Leigh met with each actor individually and only told them what their character would know at the beginning of the film. As filming progressed the actors were hearing the secrets for the very first time. Brenda Blethyn, for instance, didn't know that Marianne Jean-Baptiste was black. See more »

Goofs

When Roxanne pushes Cynthia onto the bed, the shadow of a crew member's head is seen moving on the bed. See more »

Quotes

Maurice: Secrets and lies! We're all in pain! Why can't we share our pain? I've spent my entire life trying to make people happy, and the three people I love the most in the world hate each other's guts, and I'm in the middle! I can't take it anymore!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Footballers' Wives: Just Can't Give Up (2003) 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 Roxanne's birthday party
See more »

User Reviews

Re. those "awful" accents : shut up and put up !
22 April 2002 | by Laurent MoussonSee all my reviews

I'm flabbergasted to read comments from the US complaining about the awful accents in "Secret and lies". Hey, people, you're 'merkans, and this language is supposed to be you mothertongue, it ain't mine, and I can nevertheless cope, so what ?? Has Hollywood's cliché-ed accents eroded your capacity to understand other ones that just happen to be real in the UK ? How d'you think Brits, Aussies and Kiwis cope with 'merkan accents then ? Yet US films are the same problem to them ! Come off it, panning a movie just because one is too lazy to make a little effort in concentration ia a wee tad unfair ! "Secret & Lies" is an excellent movie, great acting, and well, Timothy Spall and Brenda Blethyn are good in there because they sound real, because ther accents may not be that smooth to some ears, but they do add credibility to their characters.

BTW, a good few Brit movies on DVD happen to have english subtitles for the hard of hearing, the feature could be a help into getting used to those weird accents 60 million people across the Pond happen to have...


18 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 153 user reviews »

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English | Greek

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Secrets & Lies See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,813, 29 September 1996

Gross USA:

$13,417,292

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,417,292
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed