Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Secret Life of Words (an 'in case you missed it' movie review)

The critically acclaimed, award winning film,  The Secret Life of Words, released in 2005 and starring Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley, is definitely worth a close viewing. And at least once more again if you've already seen it what with all the wars and rumors of wars these days. But you'll have to turn up the volume because, as the title suggests, it's not a movie made for those who devour loud gratuitous sex and violence. It's a romantic drama that surgically pierces the soul and examines how true love can only come wrapped in pain. This is not to say that no humor exists in the marvelously scripted and directed screenplay by Isabel Coixet. Indeed, Robbins plays Josef, a severely injured oil rig worker in the North Sea with keen, tortured wit that eventually draws Hanna, his circumstantially appointed nurse played by Polley, into a ridiculously beautiful dimension of laughter and deep sharing.

There are so many tropes, memes, motifs of love, suffering, joy, hope, sharing, pain, communication, forbidden love, lust, pleasure, apathy, complacency, absurdity--far too many to adequately deal with--that I defer the reader of this review to the film itself. Ultimately, it is a meticulous peeling away of a victim (and victimizer's) psychological and emotional skin that is brilliantly and metaphorically symbolized by Polley's nursing of Robbins' burn wounds. Layer by torturous aching layer of flesh is slowly stripped away and replaced by visible and invisible scars upon the soul that only deep, communicative and honest love can heal.

But perhaps the best thing about The Secret Life of Words is the reality reference to the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. If I told you anymore then I would have to cut you out of the secret itself. Forever. Enjoy.