Mike Leigh is the master of British Film’s great tradition: social realism. Anyone fighting to suppress a yawn at that less than exciting label would be forgiven, but Leigh proves it can be produce some great stories.
With the precision of a surgeon Leigh peels back the layers to discover the fascinating domestic lives of those who inhabit our small island. The Britain revealed is at once complex, dysfunctional and charming but a more accurate depiction of modern British life would be hard to find. And it also happens to be a great film, winning the Palme D’Or and nominated for five Oscars.
The film revolves around Hortense Cumberbach, a black optmometrist who after the death of her adoptive parents begins a search for her birth parents. The discovery of her own family comes as a huge shock, not least because her mother is white, but also a nervous wreck, whose personality couldn’t differ more from the stylish and composed Hortense.
Secrets & Lies shows there’s more to being British than the BNP, we’re now a racially and culturally mixed society, all interrelated to one-another. One big family, albeit a somewhat dysfucntional one. But what’s more British than that?