Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. A complicated family story that takes place in three distinct time periods, and that's handled with astonishing ease and fluidity by director Claude Miller.
  2. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    A gripping mystery and an ever-timely reminder of the terrible power of repression and silence.
  3. 83
    A Secret is suitably tense, sad, and deeply poignant as it moves toward an epilogue exploring the idea that everything rots and decays, no mater how well-maintained.
  4. 80
    A clanking, old-fashioned period drama infused with almost unbearable grief, Claude Miller's film A Secret has an enormous significance in France that it can never possess elsewhere.
  5. 80
    Nearly every melodramatic impulse has been suppressed in favor of a calm precision that serves both to intensify and delay the emotional impact of the film’s climactic disclosures.
  6. The acting is exceptional. If parts of A Secret veer toward soap opera, the ensemble work reduces the suds to a minimum.
  7. The filmmaker's decision to shoot the past in color and the present in murky black and white is an inspired visual translation of psychological truth.
  8. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Claude Miller's ravishingly shot drama A Secret gives up its titular mystery early, so it may seem odd to speak of the suspense it generates.
  9. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Deepened by its complex back-and-forth chronology, deft shifts in perspective, and a significantly counterintuitive color-coding of past and present, A Secret suggests that it's not illicit passion, but rather the crime of denial, that has screwed up this family down the generations.
  10. A harrowing and wrenching coming-of-age story.
  11. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    A fine drama that stands as Gallic vet Claude Miller's best in at least a decade.
  12. Reviewed by: Joshua Katzman
    Bittersweet drama.
  13. Beautifully acted and exquisitely photographed, director Claude Miller's superb drama, from Philippe Grimbert's autobiographical novel, is awash with the ripples created by unlived lives.
  14. 50
    The fractured timeline covers five decades, which Miller weaves together, with the past shot in color and the present in black and white. Still, the soapy climax is unnecessary.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    A structural mess that turns contrived just when it should be hitting home.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 2 out of 2
  1. KenG
    Nov 11, 2008
    I suppose there is an interesting story to tell here, but this movie tells it in such a tedious and (unnecessarily) round-about way, that it I suppose there is an interesting story to tell here, but this movie tells it in such a tedious and (unnecessarily) round-about way, that it sucks all the poignancy, pathos, and power right out of this story. Full Review »
  2. SusanC.
    Oct 7, 2008
    Please, don't waste two hours of your lifetime watching this movie.