Secrets & Lies
Secrets & Lies (1996)

Mike Leigh's Oscar-nominated domestic drama centers on a black optometrist who meets her white biological mother -- and helps to unravel her new family's fragile fabric of secrecy.

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Release Date: February 1, 2005
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Critic Score: 94% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Emanuel Levy

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.

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Michael Dequina

Leigh's script and direction pushes all the right emotional buttons without getting overly melodramatic.

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Judith Egerton
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

The characters are so painfully real it's more like watching a documentary than a made-up story.

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Cole Smithey

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.

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Leo Goldsmith
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

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.

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Frank Ochieng
Movie Eye

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

Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It's hard to argue against it being a sharply observant and deeply felt melodrama, one that is accessible, contemporary and frightingly realistic.

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Eric Henderson
Slant Magazine

Secrets & Lies is littered with scenes that begin at a fever pitch before descending into a becalmed, meditative state.

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Norm Schrager

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.

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More reviews for Secrets & Lies

Flixster Audience Score: 91% Flixster User Reviews
Saskia D.
Working-class meats lower-class. Funny and heart warming.
Jameson Worley
Stunning film! A powerhouse drama fueled by a BRILLIANT cast and a great script. One of the best indie films I have ever seen. A near perfect film about people… More
Red Lats
What do you do when the baby you put up for adoption 25 years ago suddenly calls you out of the blue and wants to meet -- especially if you are not all that… More
Cassandra Maples
Mike Leigh's superb comedy-drama of family relationships. Heart-rending, bitter and delightful by turn Leigh's modern classic captured a brace of… More
Pierluigi Puccini
It's been quite a while since something provoked me tears and laughter at the same time. A film with incredible humanity. Zany, tender and quite funny.
familiar stranger
Though I didn't like it as much as "Naked", I felt it to be an entertaining humorous family drama. Mike Leigh's execution is just amazing; I… More