In Secret movie review: do you promise not to tell?

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In Secret green light

If O. Henry and Edgar Allan Poe collaborated on a love story, it might look something like this juicy bit of ironic gothic romance.
I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

If O. Henry and Edgar Allan Poe collaborated on a love story, it might look something like this juicy bit of ironic gothic romance. It’s 1860s Paris, and Thérèse (Elizabeth Olsen: Godzilla) has been lumbered with her dull, sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton: Rise of the Planet of the Apes), in a loveless marriage forced on her by her aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange: The Vow), as a sort of demented payment for her having raised Thérèse after her father abandoned her when she was little. (That’s right: the cousin she’s married to is more like a brother. Ick.) Enter Camille’s friend Laurent (Oscar Isaac: Inside Llewyn Davis), who is handsome, artistically talented, and not a blood relation. The torrid affair Thérèse and Laurent embark upon is shot with sexy mystery by first-time writer-director Charlie Stratton: there’s barely any nudity, but there is — *fans self* — lots of sweaty impatience and emotional and physical desperation. Now, if only they could get Camille out of the way, they wouldn’t have to hide and pretend… In Secret is deliciously salacious in how it plays out its messy violent tragedy, which would seem to be a twist on the “let’s you and me kill my spouse” trope, except that this is based on a novel that’s a century and a half old — Émile Zola’s 1867 Thérèse Racquin — so why isn’t its wise truth reflected more often in pop culture? Fun performances from everyone — they all know this is glorious kitsch — make for a bodice-ripping good time, with a touch of steamy warning about why murder might not be the best sauce for romance.

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Paul Wartenberg
Fri, May 16, 2014 12:02pm

Does it have steampunk?! (gets hit repeatedly for asking the wrong question)

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Paul Wartenberg
Fri, May 16, 2014 12:25pm

That would have been awesome, but no.

Has anyone done a steampunk bodice-ripper? If not, someone needs to.

Paul Wartenberg
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Fri, May 16, 2014 2:14pm

Kinda think certain Hammer Horror movies – the Frankenstein ones – might have counted.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Paul Wartenberg
Fri, May 16, 2014 2:27pm

Hammer may have influenced steampunk, but those films aren’t very steampunky themselves. At least, I don’t recall the ones I’ve seen being so.

Oracle Mun
Oracle Mun
reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Sat, May 17, 2014 7:10pm

The Magnificent Devices series comes close, but I prefer the Parasol Protectorate series. Now if only someone will adapt the latter for the screen….