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The Secret Life of Words (2006)

Sarah Polley , Tim Robbins , Isabel Coixet  |  NR |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sarah Polley, Tim Robbins, Julie Christie, Javier Camara, Sverre Anker Ousdal
  • Directors: Isabel Coixet
  • Writers: Isabel Coixet
  • Producers: Esther Garcia, Pedro Almodovar, Agustin Almodovar, Jaume Roures
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: May 8, 2007
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000NJWIPI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,608 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Secret Life of Words" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

In the Secret Life of Words, a wounded man and a hearing impaired woman forge an unlikely relationship that transcends romance. They reach an understanding that speaks as much for the affection they hold for one another, as it does their need to simply be recognized. Academy Award winner Tim Robbins (Bull Durham, The Shawshank Redemption) stars opposite Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter) in this emotional drama directed and written by Isabel Coixet (who also collaborated with Polley in My Life Without Me). Polley plays Hanna, an emotionally-stilted factory worker who is forced to take a vacation. Instead of jetting off to the Caribbean or the South of France for some sun, Hanna opts for Northern Ireland where she is hired to work as an oil rig nurse, despite the fact that she may never have actually had any medical training. Robbins portrays Josef, a chatty burn victim who is left temporarily blind, but still has enough life in him to flirt with Hanna. She would rather turn down her hearing aid and make as little contact with others as possible. Slowly, the two share secrets and help each other recover--him physically, her emotionally. While the burgeoning love story is a bit implausible, the film does a good job in exploring two characters with complicated backgrounds. --Jae-Ha Kim

Product Description

Academy Award winner Tim Robbins stars in this compelling film from Pedro Almodovar, the renowned director of Volver and Talk to Her. Powerfully acted and critically acclaimed, The Secret Life of Words is a moving story about discovering love and hope when least expected. A wounded oil worker forms an unlikely and emotional relationship with a nurse based on his need to divulge the secrets of his past and her mysterious silence about her own identity. Jack Mathews of the New York Daily News calls it "remarkably compelling…one you won't soon forget."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"The Secret Life of Words" is directed by Isabel Coixet ("My Life without Me"). In this quiet film Sarah Polley is Hanna silently working at a factory, keeping to herself in her life. One day her boss tells her to take a vacation even though Hanna doesn't seem to enjoy the idea. Still she travels to a seaside town, where she finds nothing to do. While having a lunch at a local Chinese restaurant, however, she hears about Josef (Tim Robbins), severely burnt victim of a fire at an offshore oil rig.

Hanna volunteers to nurse him and flies to the isolated site where not many things happen. There Hanna cares for Josef, who cannot see her face, wearing a bandage over his eyes because of injury. Josef keeps talking to Hanna, asking her questions while telling her a few things about him. As the film slowly goes on, Hanna, not the most sociable nurse in the world, still starts to reveal her past, which is related to the events that happened in her native country years ago.

Supporting actors include Javier Cámara, Steven Mackintosh, Eddie Marsan, Daniel Mays and Julie Christie, plus cameo of Leonor Watling. Though her screen time is short, Julie Christie is wonderful as Inge who cares for Hanna. (Inge's character is based on the real-life person Denmark-born Dr. Inge Genefke of IRCT.) But the film virtually belongs to the two leading actors, Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins.

Not many "actions" happen during the film which heavily depends on the words the characters speak. Some may think the film's pace is too slow and its story boring while others may find the understated tone essential to the spiritual changes that main characters Hanna and Josef undergo.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Silence as a Protection for Facing Past Horrors May 13, 2007
Format:DVD
It is always a joy to find a DVD in the videostore that is completely an unknown entity, only to discover upon viewing it that it is a little masterpiece of cinematic art. Such is the case with THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS, and having seen the film now raises the question of how it went unnoticed in the theater release. Though touted on the cover as an 'Almodóvar film', in reality it's connection to the genius lies in the fact that both Pedro and his brother Agustín Almodóvar were executive producers: the film was written and directed by Spanish artist Isabel Coixet (Paris, je t'aime, Invisibles, My Life Without Me). It is a minimalist statement about the indomitable human spirit, a story that slowly unwinds to reveal some of the most terrifying aspects of trauma of war and guilt and shame ever written.

Hanna (Sarah Polley, in a phenomenal performance) is a deaf, silent reclusive young woman working as a line operator in a factory, so married to her meaningless job that her boss insists she take a vacation she deserves. Hanna does as she's told, and journeys to a seaside spot where she hears about a man on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean who is severely burned and needs a nurse. Hanna quietly takes the job, is flown by the doctor (Steven Mackintosh) to the isolated oil rig, populated with only a few men - cook Simon (Javier Cámara of 'Hable con ella', 'La Mala educación, 'Lucía y el sexo' etc), oceanographer and workers (Eddie Marsan, Daniel Mays, Dean Lennox Kelly, Danny Cunningham, Emmanuel Idowu) and a captain (Steven Mackintosh), and meets her patient Josef (Tim Robbins) who is temporarily blinded from burns to his corneas, and severely burned on his limbs.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Unforgettable May 23, 2007
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
*****

"The Secret Life of Words" is a slow-paced movie telling the story of a young woman who takes care of a burn victim. The young woman, Hanna, is a torture victim. The film show the slow development of intimacy between her and her patient. It explores themes subtley and beautifully and unconventionally.

If you are interested in being entertained, you may not enjoy this movie. If you want to be moved, and touched, and to have an unforgettable film experience, you will not be unsatisfied.

This is not a conventional movie, and those who wish for a quick pace and obvious themes will be disappointed. Those who are content to process and think while a theme is developed, and who are open for a different sort of movie will be pleased.

The acting in this movie is incredible, from Tim Robbins' leading role, to Julie Christie, and Sarah Polley. I had rented the movie, and immediately purchased it after viewing it once to keep and to view again and again.

Highly recommended for the thoughtful moviegoer.

*****
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable May 16, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
*****

"The Secret Life of Words" is a slow-paced movie telling the story of a young woman who takes care of a burn victim. The young woman, Hanna, is a torture victim. The film show the slow development of intimacy between her and her patient. It explores themes subtley and beautifully and unconventionally.

If you are interested in being entertained, you may not enjoy this movie. If you want to be moved, and touched, and to have an unforgettable film experience, you will not be unsatisfied.

This is not a conventional movie, and those who wish for a quick pace and obvious themes will be disappointed. Those who are content to process and think while a theme is developed, and who are open for a different sort of movie will be pleased.

The acting in this movie is incredible, from Tim Robbins' leading role, to Julie Christie, and Sarah Polley. I had rented the movie, and immediately purchased it after viewing it once to keep and to view again and again.

Highly recommended for the thoughtful moviegoer.

*****
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Different & Very Good
I almost wrote it off after the first 15-20 minutes because I couldn't figure it out, and the voice-over of the child didn't make sense (that particular detail still doesn't do... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Cindy M
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Vision of Suffering and Redemption
This well acted and well written film is powerful and real and not to be missed. And do not be suprised to be surprised.
Published 2 months ago by jzactor
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice human study of personality,good chick flick
Enjoyed watching this film which had less action and more of a perssonal study of characters. Sweet ending as well.Not what you might expect.
Published 2 months ago by Delzen
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie
Tim Robbins, Sarah Polley both deliver fine performances in this quiet movie of substance. This is a moving portrayal of a young woman who, after a horrendous experience, is slowly... Read more
Published 5 months ago by RS
3.0 out of 5 stars Opinion
It was an interesting film. It was based on the emotions we develop when we are under tragic circumstances of life and how we can cope with them.
Published 5 months ago by Luisa E. Alvarez Lopez
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected.
I do not like listening to a lot of swearing, and this has a lot of crude language. I could not finish watching this movie.
Published 7 months ago by Nutmeg
5.0 out of 5 stars strong cast moving story
this is the kind of film you remember and go back to over and over again... soooo many thanks, bill
Published 7 months ago by PIA
1.0 out of 5 stars defective disc
The DVD did not play at all - it is defective and so I was not able to view the film.
Published 7 months ago by Lisa Rowe
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!!!!
If you love this film, watch "Elegy" by the same director. Both movies take on you trips to heart-felt emotions...
Published 10 months ago by Barbara Mclellan
5.0 out of 5 stars Film is an International Language
Film is an international language. In this much-lauded drama, we have a Spanish writer, a Canadian actress playing a refugee from the Balkans, a Danish location, a British actress... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jay B. Lane
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