Un Secret

Actors: Ludivine Sagnier, Patrick Bruel

Release Date: Monday 30th November -0001

Genre(s): Drama

Running time: 105 minutes

Because he has an athletic father in Maxime (Bruel) and champion swimmer in mother Tania (De France), sickly 7-year-old Francois Grimbert (Valian Vigourt) retreats within himself and fantasises about having an older, stronger and more handsome brother. He spends his time reading and dodging the disappointed glances from his cold, hard father. Feeling sorry for him, family nurse Louise (Depardieu) finally tells him why his father is so distant: just before the onset of WWII, Maxime was married to Hannah (Sagnier) and they had a son, Simon, who was more like his father than Francois - an Olympic winner in the making. What follows is the tragedy that befell the family and how Maxime and Tania got together. It's a love-across-the-ages story with the usual lengthy flashbacks, heavy sighs, flirting eyes and illicit love affairs all conducted during the Nazi occupation of France. This plot might have worked in Phillipe Grimbert's autobiographical novel but Un Secret is a dull film. The deliberate pace would have been acceptable if there were interesting characters to root for but, apart from Sagnier's Hannah who displays the only depth on show, there's no character worth knowing. It's a shame, too, that Mathieu Almaric, whose grown up Francois narrates the story, is sidelined after his wonderful turn in The Diving Bell And The Butterfly. On the plus side, shots of Cecile De France in her bathing suit are in abundance but even that can't stave off boredom.