Secrets & Lies (1996)
June 2, 2022 12:30 PM - Subscribe

In Mike Leigh's 1996 Palme d'Or winning drama, Marianne Jean-Baptiste stars as Hortense, a well-educated black middle-class London optometrist, who was adopted as a baby and has chosen to trace her family history – and discovers that her birth mother, Cynthia, played by Brenda Blethyn, is a working-class white woman with a dysfunctional family.

Claire Rushbrook co-stars as Cynthia's other daughter Roxanne, while Timothy Spall and Phyllis Logan portray Cynthia's brother and sister-in-law, who have secrets of their own affecting their everyday family life.

95% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Roger Ebert: ****/****: "unfolds with the fascination of eavesdropping."

Rita Kempley, Washington Post: "All ends happily, yet not sappily, thanks to Leigh's eye for the sheer silliness of the human condition."

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max and The Criterion Channel.
posted by DirtyOldTown (7 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
this movie is such a devasting heart wrench. MJB is wonderful (as always) but wow.
posted by supermedusa at 12:37 PM on June 2, 2022

This is on my top ten all time list, for sure.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:42 PM on June 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

My mum called me sweetheart (schweed-haht) for years after seeing this film.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:16 PM on June 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

I guess I've seen most of the Mike Leigh films and this may be the most memorable, impactful. (My favorite is Another Year, which revisits some of these family flaws and complexities, but much more gently and with less loss and despair).
posted by latkes at 10:03 PM on June 3, 2022 [3 favorites]

Lesley Manville, who's fantastic in Another Year, is also great in a small role as a social worker in this film.
posted by Morpeth at 4:10 AM on June 4, 2022 [2 favorites]

Probably my only relevant Bacon-score but I used to live next door to Brenda Blethyn's cousin.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:34 PM on June 5, 2022 [1 favorite]

One of my all time favourite films too.

And if you can get to see Lesley Manville in Stefan Golaszewski's Mum, grab the chance because it is sublime.
posted by humph at 1:43 PM on June 6, 2022 [1 favorite]

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