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3.9 out of 5 stars18
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 26 October 2013
........and I have a considerable number of them! I've only previously seen one film with Patrick Bruel, a top pop singer in France, and that was many many years ago when he was the age most pop singers usually are. This is a remarkable story, told in three separate time phases as a man around forty years old in 1985 recalls events from his youth, and the revelations of a terrible family secret from the decade before his own birth. Brilliant performances from the five principal actors, Bruel, Cecile de France, Ludivine Sagnier, Julie Depardieu and Matthieu Almaric. I imagine this film will permanently feature in any Top Ten list I'd ever be asked to draw up.
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"Un Secret," ("A Secret"), (2007) is a French movie, a dramatic evocation of World War II, and the Holocaust directed at Jews, as it was played out in that Gallic country. It utilizes a flashback technique to tell the story of one particular family, the Grimberts, and, interestingly enough, gives us the scenes of current life in black and white; the WWII scenes in color. It's apparently based on a true story, by Philippe Grimbert. Claude Miller directs this engrossing drama about a Jewish boy in post-World War II Paris who stumbles upon a mysterious toy in the attic, exposing his family's secret dark past and how it survived Nazi atrocities. It asks the question: can the young boy grasp the devastating truth, or will it drive him deeper into his personal fantasy world?

It's a thoughtful, meditative film, in which action comes slowly, and many of the more important happenings occur off-screen. However, it is telling a unique, individual story of people caught up in the war and the Holocaust, just when some of us probably thought there was no more to be said on that subject. The acting is top-rate, with the beauteous Cécile De France as Tania Stirn, champion swimmer/former Chanel model, as the boy's mother; Julie Depardieu, as Louise, family friend and massage specialist; Patrick Bruel as Maxime Nathan Grinberg/Grimbert, a businessman, the boy's father. Ludivine Sagnier turns in quite a performance as Hannah Golda Stirn / Grinberg, Maxime's first wife. Mathieu Amalric plays the older Maxime. There are, in fact, rather a lot of characters, which the film expects us to sort out; I was sometimes a bit confused between them. There is, however, no mistaking the sensuous longing tango that both the already-married to others Tania and Maxime dance in the hellish days of WWII. I found these scenes among the sexiest I've ever seen in film; and, to me, the movie had great emotional power, but its meditative quality may not suit everyone.
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on 28 October 2008
This is a highly engrossing and flawlessly acted French drama concerning the devestating effect a married man's infatuation with another woman has on his family, with the German occupation of France during WWII as its backdrop. The basic premise isn't necessarily the most original, but the execution is superb. The movie weaves back and forth between the past and the present of both the narrator and his parents to slowly reveal the details of the secret in quesion, one which, it transpires, still has profound effects on their lives. This is an elegant, quietly beautiful movie that fans of French cinema/drama should find much to love about.
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on 22 May 2016
A very absorbing French Film, well directed by the acclaimed Claude Miller. A good chance to see a stellar cast giving a memorable performances, this does include a memorable performance from Cecile De France in a very captivating turn, also the excellent Ludivine Sagnier who projects such sadness and the bearer of the secret.( I will not divulge this here..it will spoil the film for you.)
It is always good to see a film so well directed, the story so well told in gripping details, concerning the holocaust and the Industrial Murder of the Jewish people by the Nazi Regime.
I always think French Films have such a natural feel about them, engaging in close up camera work. This is often lacking in many UK/US productions.
I think this film..A Secret, will be remembered by a lot people for many years to come. It does illustrate the very inhuman treatment of French Jews during the occupation...and such stories are common place throughout France.
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on 19 December 2015
The tragic story of a family torn apart by the Holocaust - very faithful to the original novel. The young protagonist feels that he has an imaginary brother and senses that he has had a brother in the past from certain giveaway clues - a suitcase and stuffed toy in the attic etc. - but no one is talking. Clearly a taboo and clearly something is going on between the parents. He gradually tracks down the truth. I was going to use this as a topic of an A Level French course but although the book is quite short, the movie seems to drag on and on without much happening in the first half hour. Quite good but drags on a little for what is, after all, something which may not appeal to all tastes this long after WW2.
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on 19 May 2014
The film is based on an autobiography of a man whose Jewish parents lived in Paris during WWII. Flips backwards and forwards between them during the war, him as a child and him as an adult. Touching, more matter-of-fact rather than romanticised,etc. Very good film about an unusual story.
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on 9 February 2014
I'm reading the book in the original French in my adult learning class and found the film to be very close to the original story. It certainly helped me to understand the depth of the secret and the lives it affected.

A great film, well acted and very moving.
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on 26 February 2015
Beautiful film with excellent actors and a very moving story. Claude Miller has done justice to the autobiographical novel of Philippe Grimbert. I would recommend you read the book first and then watch the film. You will be moved by both.
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on 22 March 2014
I have the original French DVD but struggled to understand it. It is a little easier with sub-titles. A story off war, sacrifice and love - a real weepy!
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on 17 October 2014
Superb film, well made, good acting, interesting, involving, and ultimately moving, we enjoyed watching immensely.
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