Secrets & Lies (1996)

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.

Original Title : Secrets &, Lies
Director : Mike Leigh
Writer : Mike Leigh
Genre : Drama
Country : France
Language : English
Producer : Simon Channing-Williams
Music : Andrew Dickson
Photography : Dick Pope
MPAA Rating : Rated R for language.
IMDB ID : 0117589
Official site :
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poster for "Secrets & Lies" by Mike Leigh (1996)
Secrets & Lies (1996) - Mike Leigh


¬Timothy Spall Maurice Purley
¬Phyllis Logan Monica Purley
¬Brenda Blethyn Cynthia Rose Purley
¬Claire Rushbrook Roxanne Purley
¬Marianne Jean-Baptiste Hortense Cumberbatch
¬Elizabeth Berrington Jane
¬Michele Austin Dionne
¬Lee Ross Paul
¬Lesley Manville Social Worker
¬Ron Cook Stuart
¬Emma Amos Girl with Scar
¬Brian Bovell Hortense's Brother
¬Trevor Laird Hortense's Brother
¬Claire Perkins Hortense's Sister-in-Law (as Clare Perkins
¬Elias Perkins McCook Hortense's Nephew
¬Jane Mitchell Senior Optometrist (as June Mitchell
¬Janice Acquah Junior Optician
¬Keeley Flanders Girl in Optician's
¬Hannah Davis First Bride
¬Terence Harvey First Bride's Father
¬Kate O'Malley Second Bride
¬Joe Tucker Groom
¬Richard Syms Vicar
¬Grant Masters Best Man
¬Annie Hayes Mother in Family Group
¬Jean Ainslie Grandmother
¬Daniel Smith Teenage Son
¬Lucy Sheen Nurse
¬Frances Ruffelle Young Mother
¬Felix Manley Baby
¬Nitin Chandra Ganatra Potential Husband
¬Metin Marlow Conjuror
¬Amanda Crossley Raunchy Woman
¬Su Elliot Raunchy Woman
¬Di Sherlock Raunchy Woman
¬Alex Squires Triplet
¬Lauren Squires Triplet
¬Sade Squires Triplet
¬Dominic Curran Little Boy
¬Stephen Churchett Man in Suit
¬David Neilson Man in Suit
¬Peter Stockbridge Man in Suit
¬Peter Waddington Man in Suit
¬Rachel Lewis Graduate
¬Paul Trussell Grinning Husband
¬Denise Orita Uneasy Woman
¬Margery Withers Elderly Lady
¬Theresa Watson Daughter
¬Gordon Winter Laughing Man
¬Jonathan Coyne Fianc√©
¬Peter Wight Father in Family Group
¬Gary McDonald Boxer
¬Alison Steadman Dog Owner
¬Liz Smith Cat owner
¬Sheila Kelley Fertile Mother
¬Angela Curran Little Boy's Mother
¬Linda Beckett Pin-Up Housewife
¬Philip Davis Man in Suit
¬Wendy Nottingham Glum Wife
¬Anthony O'Donnell Uneasy Man
¬Ruth Sheen Laughing Woman
¬Ruth Sheen Laughing Woman


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.


A touching story overwhelmed with too many unhappy moments It is unusual for me to see a film that has received so much critical and viewer praise and feel at times very uncomfortable. The central story of Cynthia's relationship with her daughter and brother and later a second unknown daughter is very real. Cynthia's sad life is touching but the film adds too many unhappy moments. The brother's wife is in pain and is angry. The brother's former boss is a bitter unemployed alcoholic. These and other depressing events do not provide contrast to Cynthia's hopelessness and made it often too intense for me. Still this is a film worth seeing if you don't mind heavy working class British accents and appreciate seeing people work through deception and accusations to forgiveness.
poster for "Secrets & Lies"
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Secrets & Lies (1996) - Mike Leigh