8.0/10
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Secrets & Lies (1996)

R | | Drama | 28 February 1997 (USA)
Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is an underprivileged white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed.

Director:

Mike Leigh

Writer:

Mike Leigh
Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 35 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Spall ... Maurice
Phyllis Logan ... Monica
Brenda Blethyn ... Cynthia
Claire Rushbrook ... Roxanne
Marianne Jean-Baptiste ... Hortense
Elizabeth Berrington ... Jane
Michele Austin ... Dionne
Lee Ross ... Paul
Lesley Manville ... Social Worker
Ron Cook ... Stuart
Emma Amos ... Girl with Scar
Brian Bovell Brian Bovell ... Hortense's Brother
Trevor Laird Trevor Laird ... Hortense's Brother
Clare Perkins Clare Perkins ... Hortense's Sister-in-Law
Elias Perkins McCook Elias Perkins McCook ... Hortense's Nephew
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Storyline

Cynthia lives in London with her sullen street-sweeper daughter. Her brother has been successful with his photographer's business and now lives nearby in a more upmarket house. But Cynthia hasn't even been invited round there after a year. So, all round, she feels rather lonely and isolated. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Hortense, adopted at birth but now grown up, starts to try and trace her mother. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Roxanne drives her mother crazy. Maurice never speaks to his niece. Cynthia has a shock for her family. Monica can't talk to her husband. Hortense has never met her mother.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | France

Language:

English | Greek

Release Date:

28 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Secrets & Lies See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$60,813, 29 September 1996

Gross USA:

$13,417,292

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$13,417,292
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The restaurant where Cynthia and Hortense meet for lunch is "Pasta Plus Restaurant", a family-run Italian restaurant on 62 Eversholt Street, Camden, London. The restaurant is still open to the public (Monday to Saturday) and is very close to Euston station. See more »

Goofs

A statement of Hortense's suggests that her family comes from Barbados, and a stamp on a letter among her adoptive mother's papers is almost identifiable as Barbadian on my DVD, but when she puts on a West Indian accent in one scene, apparently imitating her mother, it sounds like broad Jamaican or generic "West Indian", certainly not Bajan, which is a very distinctive accent. See more »

Quotes

Cynthia Purley: I wouldn't know him if he stood up in my soup!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Will & Grace: Secrets and Lays (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
Words by Patty S. Hill & Mildred J. Hill (as Mildred Hill)
© Keith Prowse Music Pub Co. Ltd./EMI
Sung by the family at Roxanne's birthday party
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Magic
19 August 2002 | by UACWSee all my reviews

The way Leigh weaves a story here - no screenplay, just tell the actors what the scenes are supposed to do, give them an outline, but don't give away the punch line or the ending - shows up in the final print. This is cinematic magic, with Blethyn turning in one of the most breathtaking performances ever seen on the silver screen. The transformation into Cynthia Purley is total. Study especially the scene in the cafe in Holborn - story has it these two principals had not met before shooting this scene, and the scene goes on forever, and puts incredible demands on both actors, especially Blethyn, who is simply unreal in her abilities. All do a great job here. This is not a light comedy. It will tear at you, thanks in part to the evocative music, but at the end you will go 'wow' and feel good for having seen it.


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