From the relatively safe position of adulthood, a man named Francois Grimbert (Amalric) looks back on his relationship with his parents as he grew up a sickly child in 1950s France, in awe of his stunning mother Tania (de France) and unable to win the approval of his driven, athletic father Maxime (Bruel). Via extended flashbacks, we watch Francois grow into a young adolescent, whereupon a close family friend begins gradually imparting some disturbing family secrets concerning his parents' lives before and during the war (hint: both were Jewish) that shed particular light on Francois's fraught relationship with his father.
Why we love it
This twisty, engrossing puzzler works its magic by uncovering its surprises gradually and deliberately. The bulk of the drama — and heart of the film — lies in recounting how Tania and Maxime first met and eventually ended up with each other (it takes longer than you'd think). Ultimately, this seemingly fantastic (but fact-based) tale registers due to director Miller's subtly drawn characters and deftly constructed script, along with two knockout performances from Bruel and de France (who's quite a knock-out herself). Without a doubt, this is one "Secret" worth sharing.