Parents' Guide to

A Secret Love

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Docu about women forced to hide relationship for 70 years.

Movie NR 2020 83 minutes
A Secret Love Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 9+


Beautiful love story.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
age 10+


This documentary film is a must-watch! It is such an incredible story of two strong women who were forced to hide their love from the world for 65+ years! This is a very emotional movie, especially since the two main women who were so shunned by society are just such genuine people. Your child would greatly benefit from watching this because of the positive messages and positive role models, however, even though no things are really shown, there are references and talk of the past violence towards lesbian women such as lesbian bar raids and arrests of gay women. Also, the two women haven’t had easy lives either. They have experienced tragic deaths in the family, since they grew up during the war time. There is also the issue of parents not loving and accepting their children as they are, which is a sad theme throughout. But these two women get the happy ending they deserve, and believe me, you will be crying throughout this whole movie! Both sad and happy tears! 5 stars!!!!! By the way, the trailer posted here for the movie is wrong, you can watch the real one here:

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (1):

Director Chris Bolan spent seven years making this film, and it was worth every minute of his time. Bolan lovingly trains the camera on his great aunts Terry and Pat, two strong, independent women who managed to nurture their love under wraps in the face of an inhospitable and judgmental society. Bolan weaves in the hazards they faced in the 1940s, '50s, '60s, and later, using photographs and home movies. He interviews devoted family members who, though shocked, instantly accepted the decades-late announcement that Terry and Pat had lived as a couple for years. One niece accepts the gay announcement but wishes they'd get married immediately to avoid "living in sin," demonstrating how views, even among the religious, have evolved over the years.

A Secret Love also examines the utter familiarity of their plight as they age. Loving family members try to get them help, try to help them move to more manageable quarters, and those actions are met with resistance. Family love and support are strong, and there's no sense that it's put on for the cameras. The movie drips of love going in all directions, and that fact makes this feel like an instructional video on how to be in the world. Someone observes to Terry that she broke the rules her whole life, and she replies, "Yes. That's why I'm happy."

Movie Details

  • On DVD or streaming: April 29, 2020
  • Director: Chris Bolan
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 83 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: March 2, 2022

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