In Secret (Therese)
A morality tale of curdled love and corrosive guilt that works, because the morality arises from within - within the characters, within their dealings with each other, within the dim, desperate world they inhabit. Everyone comes in for a measure of sympathy (though sometimes, it's measured out with a heavy hand), and that's what makes the ultimate verdict so painful. Young Therese is dropped off at her aunt's in 19th-century France by her a ne'er-do-well father, and finds herself cast in the role of "guardian angel" to her sickly cousin Camille — even to the point of sharing his bed. When she grows up and Dad dies, Aunt Mom gets the brilliant idea of having the cousins share the bed again, this time as husband and wife — it keeps everyone (and their money) so close. Small wonder she has thoughts of straying — and worse. ("Everything is lust and murder," intones a pudgy inspector over Thursday-night dominoes.) The men (Oscar Isaac, Tom Felton) do good work here, but the great struggle is between Jessica Lange and Elizabeth Olsen as mother and daughter-in-law, as sun and moon, fierce energy and reflected, mournful beauty. 2014.
- "Guardian Angel" • February 21, 2014