Secrets & Lies

Secrets & Lies

Directed by Mike Leigh • 1996 • United Kingdom
Starring Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Timothy Spall

Mike Leigh’s Palme d’Or–winning masterpiece charts the shockwaves that ripple through an already-fractured London family when Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a successful, adopted black optometrist, makes contact with Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn, winner of the best actress prize at Cannes), her desperately dysfunctional white birth mother, who is woefully unprepared to deal with the situation. With unexpected humor and gripping emotional realism, Leigh crafts an intricate, richly human exploration of the buried tensions and heartaches that run beneath the surface of family life.

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Secrets & Lies
  • Secrets & Lies

    Directed by Mike Leigh • 1996 • United Kingdom

    Mike Leigh's Palme D'Or winning family drama concerns a working class woman who is shocked when the mixed-race daughter she gave up at birth tracks her down.


  • Marianne Jean-Baptiste on SECRETS & LIES

    In this December 2020 interview, recorded remotely in London, critic Corrina Antrobus talks to actor Marianne Jean-Baptiste about her role in SECRETS & LIES.

  • Mike Leigh on SECRETS & LIES, 1996

    Presented here is a 1996 audio conversation between Mike Leigh and film critic Michel Ciment.

  • Mike Leigh on SECRETS & LIES, 2020

    Presented here is a December 2020 conversation, recorded remotely in Cornwall and London, in which director Mike Leigh talks to his friend the composer Gary Yershon about the making of SECRETS & LIES.