Love and murder – are there more crucial or basic ingredients for a good story? It’s like cooking and starting with chicken or beef stock: They are the building blocks from which the best recipes are constructed.
Charlie Stratton’s “In Secret” is based on Emile Zola’s “Therese Raquin” – but were it set in a different time period, it could have been a film noir like “Double Indemnity” or “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”
The set-up is surprisingly similar: A woman falls in love with a man who’s not her husband, who helps her eliminate her husband from the picture. And then the fun begins.
In this case, the wife is Therese (Elizabeth Olsen), an orphan who is taken in by Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange), a friend of her family who has a son of her own, Camille (Tom Felton of “Harry Potter” fame). Eventually, both Camille and Therese grow up and Madame Raquin takes it upon herself to match the two of them in marriage.
Camille is obviously smitten with Therese and his mother sees her cowed young daughter-in-law as a surrogate housekeeper and maid. Eventually, Camille moves them into a poor part of Paris, where he works in an office. Madame opens a small shop, with Therese as her assistant and all-around dogsbody.
One night, Camille brings home a friend from work – Laurent (Oscar Isaac), a handsome young man who immediately falls for Therese and vice versa. Before long, they have started to meet secretly and, eventually, plot how to get rid of Camille so they can run away together.
This review continues on my website.