Hortense, the result of a now-forgotten night between the teen-age Cynthia and a black stranger, has only spoken to
her mother on the phone. Cynthia has no
Hortense is black.
Cynthia is a white working-class British woman whose life has been disappointing. She's single
with no prospect of romance and a dead-end job at a box factory. Her daughter Roxanne is a street sweeper and hates her.
Hortense, is an articulate young black optometrist who adoptive parents have recently died. After some research
Hortense discovers her biological mother. The 15-year-old girl, who gave her up as a baby, without seeing her.
One day Cynthia receives a call from Hortense who claims to be her long-lost daughter and agrees to meet her at a
Hortense, the result of a now-forgotten night between the teen-age Cynthia and a
black stranger, has only spoken to her mother on the phone. Cynthia has no idea Hortense is black.
After the initial awkwardness of their first meeting the two women quickly form a friendship that gives
Cynthia a new source of emotional strength and unlocks a long-dormant sense of pride.
Cynthia decides to introduce her new friend to the rest of her family at Roxanne's 21st birthday party
organised by Maurice, her successful younger brother she raised from a child and his abrasive wife Monica.
Chaos ensues the family is forced to confront the lies and evasions that have kept them apart all these years.
Directed by Mike Leigh, Secrets & Lies was nominated for five Oscars and won three BAFTA Awards. Brenda Blethyn
who played Cynthia was honoured with a BAFTA and Marianne Jean-Baptiste became the first British black woman to
be nominated for an Oscar.