The Secret Life of Words (2005)

“The Secret Life of Words” (2005)


a set which performs

This has a beautiful set up, one which is highly in touch with the themes and the shape of the characters. That set up works because the performances allow it.

The film is about being incomplete, abnormal people running away from normal situations – almost a reverse of the most common kind of drama this days, normal people in abnormal situations.

There are great hints at understanding visually what the two main characters feel physically/deeply. So, the characters are an island, an artificial island, self-absorbed, and broken, like the oil platform. She is deaf, and able to decide whether she wants to hear, he is temporarily blind. I understood the deaf as someone who is able to decide when she wants to be the island (by total silence, or by the constant noise of the factory where she works when she’s not being a nurse). The temporary blindness was the process by which Robbins’ character is forced to “hear” (synonym to understand) instead of “seeing” (synonim to preconceive).

The way the conclusion unfolded, with the revelation of the past of the girl struck me as natural, and confirmed me that the tensions, the revelations, etc. all come throughout the portions in the platform, it speaks to us and reveals more than the dialogs do, that’s the interest of it. That’s why it’s visual. The set up tells the story. The opposition between inside outside helps. We have mostly hand held camera for the dialogs, and travelings for the outside.

I knew Tim Robbins was competent. Sometimes he is great. He is an intelligent actor, one of those who is an artist himself, who has a great creative portion in the projects where he works, he has his own ‘method’. Sarah Polley was a surprise. She is talented, she projects her characters internally, she’s highly contained, but also highly emotional. I’m not sure about this, but in a way she reminds me the kind of actor Henry Fonda was (and his daughter as well). I’ll follow her career. She directed a film recently, i’m interesting in finding out how she took her acting skills to the field of direction.

Isabel Coixet has a personal touch, i suspect, it’s not original, she doesn’t pull out risky tricks, but she emulates well enough the references she takes. I like that. This is a worthwhile experience, one that may touch you deeply if you have the capacity to understand the abstractions of the minimalist interpretations and project those abstractions on the way the set is filmed. That’s interesting…

My opinion: 4/5

This comment on IMDb


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