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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
On the positive side, the movie shows the downside of the oppression of women in days past, as well as the importance of love and passion in people's lives. On the other hand, the movie dwells on how passion can turn to desperation and mixes sexuality and murder in a disturbing way.
Positive Role Models
Central characters are murderers or complicit in murder.
Violence & Scariness
A man drowns another and it's a knockdown fight that might be hard to watch for sensitive viewers. A husband manhandles his wife in one of many arguments. A woman nearly drowns and two people attempt suicide. A corpse is shown at the morgue in a state of decay.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A fair amount of steamy sex scenes showing a couple in various compromising positions. Though we don't see any genitals, there are glimpses of a woman's breast from the side.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking, mostly in social situations. One scene shows an inebriated couple arguing.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that In Secret is a period drama with lots of steamy sex scenes, though there's no explicit nudity. The movie is light on joy and has a fair serving of intense scenes with couples fighting loudly, and sometimes physically. A man is drowned by another and several characters attempt suicide. The material is fairly mature, and tackles such subjects as infidelity, exploitation, and murder. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While teens might enjoy the doomed lovers storyline, the mix of sexuality and violence is too edgy for most. In Secret is a literary classic that gets bodice-ripper treatment here, a story of passion that at times begins to feel like a fascinating examination of guilt and conscience, but is undermined by a Harlequin romance vibe. Despite a bleak and dreary tableau, which fits the storyline, the film's gorgeous to look at; scenes look painterly, like works of art that deserve to be hung in a museum.
The acting's superb, too, though the mostly excellent Lange sometimes tips over into Gothic-horror-story caricature. Still, Isaac and Olsen share little chemistry, making it tough to buy into the stakes raised by their illicit coupling. A movie that could've brought Zola's words to life ends up failing to summon its urgency and depth.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.