Secrets and Lies
Secrets and Lies is a classic Mike Leigh film, made in his hallmark style with much improvisation by the actors who did not know how the plot would unfold as they began filming. And it works brilliantly. The story centres on a family with many dysfunctional relationships - which are really just more exaggerated versions of the dysfunctions hidden in any family. The characters' hidden pasts and enduring insecurities intensify the lack of empathy between them, deepening the tensions and heightening their misunderstandings. It takes Maurice, brother to the central character, to get his family past their secrets and lies. Every family could probably benefit from a cup of tea with him. A fantastic cast including Timothy Spall, Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Don't read the synopsis, don't watch You Tube clips, just see the film.
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Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste are so fantastic in this low-key film that really seems like a slice of life. I think it's key that much of it was improvised. Maurice's journey is one of the most rewarding aspects of the film but, always an unselfish actor, Timothy Spall never lets it dominate. I wish there were more films like this and am just glad Mike Leigh is still making great films, but why this one isn't more successful globally I'll never know!
deeply personal tears
I have to be cautious about watching this film - but it can be a useful device when I need to deal with an emotional blockage ... more effective than the strongest onions this is. Real feelings it seems - so clearly brilliant acting and directing. And the only way any of the team could have made it was by being utterly aware of what it was like in the shoes of others.
A slice of life and a cup of tea...aah, but where's the empathy?
I love this film, and echo everyone's comments about its emotive power and the quality of the performances. But I'm not sure I agree that empathy is one of the themes this film explores. It's primarily a journey of self-discovery and the courage it takes to confront the pains of the past - those things we cannot change and are ashamed to admit. Of course, both are essential in making empathic connections with others, but they do not equate.
Completely agree with Kate Raworth - an empathy classic and a mirror on family misunderstandings in all our lives.
I have seen this movie plenty of times and keep recommending it to people, although already made quite some years ago. It shows members of a family that are not really going well together but how over the events that are happening, some of the characters are able to come closer to each other through understanding the other.