• Secrets & Lies (1996)

Secrets & Lies

Release Date: September 23rd, 1996

DVD Release Date: February 1st, 2005

R |2 hr 22 min

Plot Summary

After her adoptive mother dies, Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a successful black eye doctor, seeks out her birth mother. She's shocked when her research leads her to a lower-class white woman, Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn). At first Cynthia denies the claim, but she eventually admits to birthing Hortense as a teenager, and the two begin to bond. However, when Cynthia invites Hortense to a family barbecue, Cynthia's already tense relationship with her family becomes even more complicated.

Cast: Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn, Phyllis Logan, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Claire Rushbrook, Ron Cook, Lesley Manville, Elizabeth Berrington

Director: Mike Leigh

Genres: Drama

Production Co: Thin Man Films, Channel Four Films

Keywords: Doctor, Brother, London, 1990s, Mother, Daughter, Tense, Transformation, Friendship

Ratings & Reviews

  • 100
    Michael WilmingtonChicago Tribune

    Leigh is an artist not at all blind to the world's darkness and pain. But the generosity and togetherness he and his company show in Secrets and Lies is something the movies -- and the world -- truly need. [25 October 1996, Friday, p.A]

  • 100
    Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times

    It moves us on a human level, it keeps us guessing during scenes as unpredictable as life, and it shows us how ordinary people have a chance of somehow coping with their problems, which are rather ordinary, too. show more

  • 100
    James BerardinelliReelViews

    Represents the director at his best -- unsentimental yet powerful, funny and poignant, and, in the end, undeniably satisfying. show more

See all critic reviews on metacritic.com

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Awards

Nominated Best Motion Picture - Drama
Winner Alexander Korda Award for the Outstanding British Film of the Year
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1997)
Winner Original Screenplay
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1997)
Nominated Writing (Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published)
Nominated Film
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1997)
Nominated David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction
British Academy of Film & Television Arts (1997)
Nominated Best Picture
Nominated Directing