Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

After being spoon-fed a diet of sentimental products with simplistic, morally clear characters, moviegoers will likely be disarmed by Secrets And Lies, the new movie from British director Mike Leigh (Naked, Life Is Sweet). The story of a black woman's discovery of the white mother who gave her up for adoption as a teenager—and the ripple-like effect the event has on the white woman's somewhat estranged family—is told with an honesty sadly missing from most attempts to dramatize family life. Leigh paces his film slowly, allowing his actors room in which to exploit the improvisational style he has seemingly perfected over the course of his career. There's not a weak performance in Secrets And Lies, a fact made more notable by the seeming ease with which the cast performs as an ensemble. It's odd that it takes a movie like this, which minimizes stylistic intrusions and allows the cast and story to propel themselves to a charged, conciliatory conclusion, to remind us how good filmmaking can be.


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