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Customer Review

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many excellent reasons to see this stunning film, May 4, 2001
This review is from: Secrets & Lies [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I find it impossible to recommend this movie strongly enough. I recently saw it for the first time, and oddly enough knew next to nothing about it. A year or so ago I saw TOPSY-TURVY with some friends, and they were raving about Mike Leigh as a filmmaker. So, when looking through my local video store for something new and intersting to view, two names jumped out at me from the box: Mike Leigh and Brenda Blethyn, whose performance in LITTLE VOICE had impressed me greatly.
I absolutely loved TOPSY-TURVY, but I am not sure but that SECRETS AND LIES is the stronger film. Less flashy, and I can easily imagine someone who does not enjoy dealing exclusively with interpersonal dynamics not particularly enjoying this. But for anyone who can appreciate an intense family drama, this film will be tough to top.
But the thing that most impressed me about SECRETS AND LIES is the acting. Brenda Blethyn was even better here than she was in LITTLE VOICE. In fact, I honestly do not know of any performance by an actor or actress anywhere that I can say is demonstrably better. I just sat in front of my VCR agog at her performance. I later read that she won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, the British Academy Awards, and the Golden Globe Awards. The only award she failed to win was the Oscar, for which she was nominated, but which went instead to Frances MacDormand in FARGO. I loved FARGO and thought MacDormand did a great job, but if you watch these two performances side by side, you gain additional proof that the voters for the Oscars either do not watch all the films or see this as a sort of popularity contest. Frances MacDormand's performance was cute and her accent was convincing, but Brenda Blethyn's performance was the emotional equivalent of a fist to the guts. Brenda Blethyn should have swept all the acting awards that year with ease. I honestly do not remember a performance anywhere in which so much genuine, intense, and overwhelming emotion is projected. If you have not seen this movie, you owe it to yourself just to see Brenda Blethyn inconceivably great performance.
I was also pleased to see Timothy Spall again, who did such an excellent job of playing so sympathetically Richard Temple (the actor who created the title role in THE MIKAIDO) in TOPSY-TURVY. I have not seen him in every many roles, but after seeing him perform so well in these two very, very different roles, I very much want to see him again.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Robert Moore
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: Little Rock, AR USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 261