Saturday, October 20, 2012
Secrets & Lies
Excluding Topsy-Turvy, Leigh knows how to capture the British working class with complete ease. The in-depth detail he gives his characters is one of a kind. (From what I read, he allows his actors to improvise in order to make their characters more human.) This is the kind of attention directors give to their films that I admire.
Secrets & Lies displays such attention wonderfully. Depicting a troubled small family, the film captures a quiet but conflicted understanding between the characters. Think of the way Leigh tells this story as a sort of British equivalent of a John Cassavetes film. (Okay, maybe not that far, but it's close.)
As with Leigh's other films, the heart of Secrets & Lies rests within the actors. The two primary actors are Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and as you watch them, it's very clear to see why they got all the awards attention. As Cynthia, Blethyn is a nervous woman who just wants to love and be loved in return. As Hortense, Jean-Baptiste is like Cynthia, but quieter and more composed. Two of the best performances of the 1990s without a doubt.
Secrets & Lies is both one of the best films I've seen and one of the more underappreciated films out there. Why that's the case with the latter, I have no idea. Seriously, go watch it. You won't regret it.
My Rating: *****