The Secret

"Unbearable"

The Secret Review


The Secret's trailer surfaced on the Internet in 2002, and for years I waited and wondered why it was taking an eternity for the movie to hit theaters. Finally, in 2007, the movie came out in French theaters, and just recently it went straight to DVD in the United States. And now that I've finally watched it, it's crystal clear why The Secret was kept on the down low: Boy, is it a bad movie -- and an incredible waste of an intriguing premise.

You can't help but feel ever so curious about how the characters are going to get themselves out of this conundrum: Upon awakening after a car accident, Hannah (Lili Taylor) realizes she's in possession of her daughter Sam's body (Olivia Thirlby). Hannah's husband Benjamin (David Duchovny) is in a tough spot: He loves his wife to death (and wants to do nasty things to her) but she's trapped in their 16-year-old daughter's body. What's a guy to do?

Given its premise, The Secret has the potential to explore dark, taboo topics, but director Vince Perez chooses to explore family values instead -- in particular, the idea that parents fail to understand their children. The movie in this way is essentially a Cinemax-style remake of Freaky Friday, only this time we're dealing with one body instead of two, and a sexually frustrated Duchovny, who deserves an Oscar for his ability to portray a piece of cardboard. How freaking stupid is that?

The film is surprisingly rated R, perhaps because we learn about Sam's secretly naughty life as Hannah takes it over. Sam's just a teen, but she's already having sex with not just one but (gasp) two boys! And she does a lot of drugs. And she writes in a diary. Quite a bold move on Vincent Perez's part -- to reveal the shocking truth that teenagers have sex and do drugs. What's he got in store for us next? Maybe a movie about an American sushi restaurant where most of the chefs aren't actually Japanese?

You have to hand it to Perez, though, for accomplishing the perplexing task of making a movie feel rushed while dragging it on for too long. It takes about five minutes for Hannah to convince Benjamin she's taken over their daughter's body, and all it takes him is a web search of "Scientific Research" to figure out what caused the spirit swap. After getting the complicated part over with, Perez devotes the rest of the movie to yawn-inducing scenes of Benjamin and Hannah/Sam yelling at each other. Their arguments can be summed up as, "I want to have sex with you, but I can't!" and "I want to have sex with you, too, but you won't do it with me!"

The other part Perez rushes is the resolution. Without giving away the ending, I'll just say the movie so easily resolves itself that its title is completely misleading, because there isn't a secret to begin with.

It's best, though, to keep this movie a secret -- quietly tucked under a pile of DVDs in the clearance section -- where Perez can pretend it never came to be.

The DVD includes interviews with each of the cast members and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Aka Si j'étais toi.



The Secret

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Thursday 13th September 2007

Budget: $15 thousand

Distributed by: Gravitas

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

IMDB: 5.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , India Osborne,

Contactmusic


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