Follow Us on Twitter

The Secret Life Of Words - Preview

The Secret Life Of Words

Preview by Jack Foley

ONE of the independent films to keep an eye on next year could well be The Secret Life of Words (Vida Secreta de las Palabras), the new film from Spanish/Catalan director Isabel Coixet.

Set on an isolated oil rig, the films stars Sarah Polley and Tim Robbins and is designed as a mystery thriller with emphasis on performance.

Following an accident, a mysterious woman played by Polley travels to the rig in question, which is staffed by an all-male crew, to care for an injured worker (Robbins).

The woman is trying to forget her past and begins caring for the man, who was temporarily blinded. But as they develop a relationship, it exposes secrets, truths, lies, humour and pain, from which neither emerge unscathed.

The film earned Polley a best actress nomination at the recent European Film Awards and received multiple Goyas (Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars), including best film, director, screenplay as well as best supporting actor for Javier Camara.

Coixet is a director previously best known for a segment in the Cannes montage Paris je t’aime.

Commenting on the inspiration behind the film, she told IndieWire website: “I did a documentary on an oil rig in the south of Chili years ago, and I was completely mesmerized by the place – the isolation, the strange [connections] that isolation creates between the people who were working there, and the way people open to each other in extreme situations. I always wanted to make a film in an oil rig.”

The Secret Life of Words opened on limited release in US cinemas on December 15 and was greeted favourably by critics.

The New York Times wrote: “As its title suggests, this eccentric film written and directed by Isabel Coixet, contemplates the insufficiency of language to encapsulate traumatic experience.”

While Entertainment Weekly observed: “Can a single scene save a movie? An hour and 20 minutes into The Secret Life of Words, Sarah Polley delivers a halting, evocative 10-minute monologue that finally unlocks the mystery behind her guarded character.”

Variety, meanwhile, wrote: “Sarah Polley gives a wonderfully searching performance, as a woman in a state of extreme isolation.”

And Newsday opined: “The Secret Life of Words transcends the limitations of its pat two-character-play core, becoming a deeply affecting existential drama about the healing power of communally felt pain.”

The film is due for a UK release sometime next year.