How do you like your romantic drama? I’ve always been one of those people who have to ignore the plot holes and overdramatic performances in soap operas in order to follow them. Yet, there is obviously a huge population of people who don’t care and get swept away in the melodrama. If you fit the latter, “In Secret” is your kind of movie.
The film stars Elizabeth Olsen as Therese. After her father drops her off with her overbearing aunt (Jessica Lange) and sickly cousin Camille (Tom Felton) never to return, she grows up with her new family almost Cinderella style. Her aunt forces her to take care of and eventually marry Camille. Score for Camille! He’s a momma’s boy who has the winning personality to go with his years under his mother’s hand.
So it’s no surprise when the group moves to Paris and meets a worldly artist named Laurent (Oscar Isaac), that Therese would desire and fall for him. Laurent is an escape, a well rounded human being, and not her chauvinistic first cousin who calls her a “portable pillow” at one point in the film. The fact that the film is based off of Emile Zola’s 1867 novel Therese Raquin explains why the steamy love affair dialogue oozes with descriptive language that doesn’t feel authentic. The screenwriting feels copied and pasted from the novel’s pages rather than adapted into cinematic dialogue which makes the secret hard to swallow.
After the duo decides to get rid of Camille, the movie gets a little interesting as Therese and Laurent deal with their cover up and guilt. If you like soap operas, you’ll probably love “In Secret”, otherwise outside of the costumes the movie is underwhelming. I guess if you can't judge a book by its' cover, you can't judge a movie by its' cast!