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."