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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No real positive messages.
Positive Role Models
Maja is a Romanian woman who'd done everything she could to move past a traumatic incident to live a full life, but when her past shows up in her community, she makes decisions that are no longer admirable.
Violence & Scariness
Flashbacks to choppy memories of wartime brutality include screaming people being shot dead, dead bodies put in a pile, and a rape (not explicit). Hammer strike to the head, gunshot wounds, physical attacks. A person is kidnapped and kept tied up.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Married couple playfully engage in sex; flash of nudity, including a man's backside.
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Strong language includes "bitch" and "c--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters smoke constantly. Alcohol consumption is used as a form of torture.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Secrets We Keep is a revenge thriller set in the United States after World War II. Without spoiling the titular secrets, they involve a rape, an ordeal that the victim (Noomi Rapace) replays over and over, trying to recall the events, which are shown to viewers as shadowed flashes. The storyline hinges on questioning how much trust we place in our memories, especially when dealing with trauma. Watching the film creates inner conflict: We know to believe women, but the film creates a situation in which viewers won't be sure they should. We want to see a woman who's been brutalized take back her power, but is violent revenge the right solution? And we've all learned we need to forgive, but does that extend to Nazis? In addition to the sexual assault, violence includes shootings, physical attacks, a kidnapping, a finger being cut off, and a hammer used as a weapon. Expect a couple of instances of strong language ("bitch," "c--t"), alcohol consumption as a form of torture, and constant smoking (typical for the era). Sex is shown positively between a married couple; the man's naked bottom is shown. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Writer-director Yuval Adler creates a unique way to keep viewers in suspense: Have them fear all outcomes. It's no coincidence that Maja spots the man she believes was her attacker underneath a marquee that advertises North by Northwest: The Secrets We Keep rises to Hitchcock comparisons. That said, while his stories kept you on the edge of your seat, whatever was going on with the characters had nothing to do with you personally. Here, Adler crafts a drama that will likely prompt viewers to have an uncomfortable debate in their own heads, asking questions that fill them with self-doubt. And, as far as what's going on on-screen, that's just as unpredictable.
Not a hair is out of place in this tidy film. The costumes and set design details are on point, from Maja's red lipstick and chic late-'50s jeans to Lewis' bland medical offices. The performances by Rapace, Kinnaman, and Chris Messina are remarkable: They're all faces we know, but not so much that we get distracted. The script is tight, with information revealed just when we need it and not a moment before. Part of the excellence comes from exploring less covered territory, like memory loss within trauma, survivor's guilt, and how some Romanians were affected by World War II. Most extraordinarily, the film suggests we need to take a closer look at what it really takes for someone to heal.
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.