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In Secret Movie Review

Title: In Secret

Director: Charlie Stratton

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Jessica Lange, Tom Felton, Oscar Isaac.

Emile Zola’s significant novel ‘Thérèse Raquin,’ first published in 1867, was adapted for the silver screen by Charlie Stratton, and screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Stratton portrays with great sensitivity the nineteenth century romantic melodrama  of the ill-matched cousins who are brought up together, married to one another by an imperious mother, and are doomed to a tragic fate after the unhappy young wife embarks on a passionate affair.

‘In Secret’ is set in the lower echelons of 1860s Paris, Therese Raquin (Elizabeth Olsen), a sexually repressed beautiful young woman, is trapped into a loveless marriage to her sickly cousin, Camille (Tom Felton), by her domineering aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange). Therese spends her days confined behind the counter of a small shop and her evenings watching Madame play dominoes with an eclectic group. After she meets her husband’s alluring friend, Laurent (Oscar Isaac), she embarks on an illicit affair that leads to harrowing consequences.

The cinematography by Florian Hoffmeister, brilliantly portrays the mist-dusk inveiglement of Therese’s secret and enhances the actors’ performances, who are very well cast for their roles. The little sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Elizabeth, conveys Therese’s character with a variety of nuances: her mask of silence and obedience conceals her rebellious sexual drive, that leads her to a point of no return with Laurent. The chemistry between Elizabeth Olson and ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ actor, Oscar Isaac, is extremely intriguing. Whereas former Draco Malfoy, becomes a delicate feeble Camille: Tom Felton is now establishing himself outside the Harry Potter franchise with great skill and boldness. The cherry on top is the outstanding Jessica Lange delivering a performance, worth of an Academy Award, as the domineering Madame Raquin who also becomes invalid. By and large, there is no action within ‘In Secret’ you don’t see coming, but the talent in front of the camera is so engaging that the movie rolls enticingly.

Technical: A

Acting: A

Story: A-

Overall: A

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi


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Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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