'The Secrets We Keep' Review
Other than the title and lead actors, I knew nothing about “The Secrets We Keep” before I watch it. So, in order for you to be equally surprised by this Bleecker Street drama, I’m going to keep a lot of the plot details secret. But not my thoughts.
Writer/director Yuval Adler proves you don’t need to go the traditional, Hollywood storytelling route to make an original movie with meaning. About 20-minutes in I began thinking “The Secrets We Keep” has to be based on a novel or true story. But it’s not. For a film in this genre, that’s pretty rare these days.
The setting is late ’50s Small Town U.S.A. Noomi Rapace (the original “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) gives one of the best lead actress performances of the year as Maja. She, husband Lewis (Chris Messina) and young son Patrick live in a typical house in a typical neighborhood. Lewis is the town doctor. In the opening scene, Maja is in the park with Patrick when she suddenly hears a whistle. It’s coming from a man (Joel Kinnaman) who’s playing with his dog. Maja’s focus immediately shifts towards him, but we don’t know why.
What follows is a major shock, followed by a series of other surprises precisely placed throughout the story. Adler juggles quite a bit, as Maja is forced to deal with painful memories, repressed trauma and unstable emotions. Lewis quickly is drawn into the situation, and soon he must question everything he believes in as both a physician and a husband.
There’s a constant believability throughout “The Secrets We Keep”. Time and place are captured perfectly. And there’s not a false word of dialogue in the entire script. We are forced to question how we would act if put the same position as Maja and Lewis. The answer made be unsettling.
Both Rapace and Kinnaman have multiple showcase scenes. Messina, best known for supporting roles and TV’s “The Mindy Project”, gives the top performance of his career.
“The Secrets We Keep” is a thriller that’s only amped-up when it needs to be. It’s also a thought piece on the power and pain of memories and secrets. The final scene sums it all up, beautifully. This is one of the year’s best.