Secrets & Lies
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A family is forced to confront the personal issues they've been avoiding for years in this powerful, realistic drama. Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn) is a working-class British woman whose life has been a long series of painful disappointments. She's single with no romantic prospects and a dead-end job at a box factory. Her daughter Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook) works as a street sweeper and is chronically bitter. Cynthia helped raise her brother, Maurice (Timothy Spall), who is doing well as a photographer, but she rarely sees him and usually blames his wife, Monica (Phyllis Logan). One day,… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"In the hands of another director, it would have been a sentimental melodrama, a soap opera, but with nuanced writing and sharp helming, Mike Leigh mixes humor and pathos in equal measure."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Leigh's script and direction pushes all the right emotional buttons without getting overly melodramatic."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"The characters are so painfully real it's more like watching a documentary than a made-up story."
‑ Judith Egerton, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
"Perhaps Mike Leigh's most popular film, but still packs a gut-punch."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner
"...a modern homily on the hidden dangers of expedience."
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
"Much more than just a touching story of the ties that bind humanity and the way we reveal ourselves, "Secrets and Lies" (1996) is a staggering work of cinematic genius. It is truly a perfect film."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Leigh's film stops short of catharsis, providing the potential for the characters' rebuilding of their relationships without suggesting that such projects are simple or immediate."
‑ Leo Goldsmith, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"An English mother-daughter racial melodrama that resonates with simplicity and insight. Leigh is considerate of his movie's identity and spirit just as much as demonstrates this with his wounded protagonists"
‑ Frank Ochieng, Movie Eye
"An excellent drama of family dysfunction."
‑ Widgett Walls,
"Rings true with its deliciously ripe moments when people relax and reveal themselves in raw intimacy."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"It's hard to argue against it being a sharply observant and deeply felt melodrama, one that is accessible, contemporary and frightingly realistic."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Secrets & Lies is littered with scenes that begin at a fever pitch before descending into a becalmed, meditative state."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"His characters look normal, act normal, chatter, and scream. And even when they choose not to speak, not to give away secrets, they're still heard."
‑ Norm Schrager,
"Terribly overrated but for Brenda Blethyn's devastating realization midway through."
‑ Rob Vaux, Flipside Movie Emporium
More reviews for Secrets & Lies on Rotten Tomatoes

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