It is an irony of family life that much of its fabric is held together with the tenuous stitches of every day lies. When suddenly revealed, such small seemingly innocent deceits can cause tears that are difficult to repair. As with other… More It is an irony of family life that much of its fabric is held together with the tenuous stitches of every day lies. When suddenly revealed, such small seemingly innocent deceits can cause tears that are difficult to repair. As with other Mike Leigh films, this drama offer a darkly serio-comic look into the dysfunctional lives of average people. Following her adoptive mother's death, Hortense, a successful, black London optometrist, visits a social worker in hopes of finding her biological mother. White single mother Cynthia lives in a decaying part of town. She and her daughter Roxanne have a love-hate relationship and constantly argue. Cynthia's younger brother Maurice, a successful photographer, lives on a better side of town. He is married to the obsessive-compulsive, emotionally distant but abusive Monica. One day, Maurice pays a long overdue visit to Cynthia and offers to host Roxanne's 21st birthday party at his home. Soon afterward Hortense shows up claiming that Cynthia is her birth mother. Cynthia is terrified to see this sudden reminder of her past and matters are not helped when Hortense says exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Despite their initial difficulty, the two women's curiosity overcomes their fears and they decide to meet at an empty tearoom. There they become friends and come to a sort of peace, one that threatens the entire family when Cynthia invites Hortense to Roxanne's party. Mike Leigh's first film in since 1993, Secrets and Lies was nominated for several Oscars and earned the Golden Palm award at Cannes in 1996.