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Separate Lies (2005)



Average Rating: 6.8/10
Reviews Counted: 88
Fresh: 63 | Rotten: 25

Though the characters in this tasteful adult drama keep a stiff upper lip, the moral dilemmas are nuanced and the emotional pain feels real.


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Critic Reviews: 32
Fresh: 25 | Rotten: 7

Though the characters in this tasteful adult drama keep a stiff upper lip, the moral dilemmas are nuanced and the emotional pain feels real.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 2,883

My Rating

Movie Info

A damaged relationship is stretched to its desperate limits in this drama. Anne (Emily Watson) and James (Tom Wilkinson) are a seemingly happy and prosperous British couple who divide their time between a flat in London and a house in the country. However, their marriage is not as contented as one might imagine, and for years James has turned a blind eye to just how deeply unhappy Anne has become with him. Their lives together reach a crossroads when Anne meets the handsome and charming Bill


Drama, Romance, Mystery & Suspense

Nigel Balchin, Julian Fellowes

Feb 21, 2006


Fox Searchlight Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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Latest News on Separate Lies

December 16, 2005:
London Movie Critics Present Their '05 Nominations
Movie City News shares with us a press release from the London Film Critics Group in which their...


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All Critics (100) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (63) | Rotten (25) | DVD (15)

What lies underneath doesn't surprise. But it's fascinating to watch that peeling as it happens.

November 18, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A chilly, intelligent and absorbing drama about infidelity, ethics and forgiveness.

October 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's as grown-up as a movie can get, with a fine cast in a strongly crafted tale about the calamities that can wreck a relationship and the love that can redeem it.

October 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As a very British film about very British personalities, class differences and attitudes, it's just about perfect.

October 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The deceptions of Separate Lies are so uniquely and recognizably human they become a cautionary warning to us all.

October 14, 2005
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The characters shift positions and explanations, presenting their 'separate lies' in a manner that ultimately adds up to an ugly truth.

October 14, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wilkinson and Watson give sharply observed performances, that don't allow the film to become a sudser.

June 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

"Separate Lies" is a hearty mystery/drama that blooms as a succinct social critique of British aristocracy.

April 19, 2009 Full Review Source:

A fascinating character study of lies, truth and the consequences

May 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Separate Lies seems to take forever to unfold, and when it does, it makes one wonder if it was worth the trouble.

March 2, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

At the mercy of material so fussy that no amount of frenetically-chopped vegetables can lend the piece much in the way of tension.

February 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

...Fellowes, who won a much deserved Oscar for his screenplay for Gosford Park, makes a fine directing debut with this updated variation on a classic theme...

December 15, 2005
Los Angeles CityBeat

This may seem like a bleak ride, but the performances are so compelling that it's impossible to look away.

November 17, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

Julian Fellowes turns out to be every bit as good a director as he is a writer.

November 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A solidly made but strangely lightweight drama.

November 1, 2005 Full Review Source:

Julian Fellowes is two for two.

October 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Engaging drama that doesn't quite pull off its transition from thriller to emotional drama, but compensates with strong performances, particularly from Tom Wilkinson.

October 29, 2005 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

This intriguing Brit entry starts out as a sort of suburban whodunit and then mutates into something else entirely -- an examination of a middle-class marriage and ultimately a meditation on selfless love.

October 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Separate Lies would have you believe it's a potent brew when, in fact, it's little more than weak tea.

October 28, 2005 Full Review

Lose the final plot twist, and Separate Lies is a tidy and wholly effective drama.

October 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Fellowes is so committed to the artistic means of naturalism, and so judicious, that his work is absorbing in a way that movies of broader scope almost never are.

October 26, 2005 Full Review Source:

You'll find it hard to keep the proverbial stiff upper lip when the overheated melodrama on the screen is prompting you to laugh out loud.

October 23, 2005 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

The movie actually begins with a voiceover explaining, 'No life is perfect, though it may seem to be.' Um, wow. Excuse me while I go stop the presses.

October 21, 2005
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Watson and, in particular, Wilkinson masterfully create complex and engrossing portraits. Everett is not as successful, never making Bule any more than an arrogant sourpuss.

October 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for Separate Lies

An engaging adult drama that presents some compelling moral dilemmas, evolving from a whodunit plot to an intelligent character study that cleverly challenges the elegant refinement of the British aristocracy.
June 20, 2010

Super Reviewer

Separate lies, starring Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, and Rupert Everett is a good drama. A film that centers on a love triangle of a married couple and a death of a neighbor intersects these people...very good film.
January 18, 2009
Mason Williams

Super Reviewer

A quiet indie drama starring Tom Wilkinson, Sepearte Lies takes almost a noirish approach to the topic of upper-class English infidelity.
James Manning (Wilkinson( discovers after years of happy marriage to Anne (Emily Watson), that she has been having a private affair behing his back. He actually discovers this by accident; a by-product of prying into a local hit-and-run accident. With a subtlye approach, Wilkinson expresses his character's dark curiosity in both the accident (?) and said affair. In this regard, his status is shown up for what it really is: a social formality that means nothing to his position as a male.
This can make the film disappointing to some, as James is walked on by his wife (and nearly everyone else) in spite of him being the jilted lover, and never really does anything about it. Though this does ably illustrate the complexity of maturity, it also serves to make the film unsatisfying, as James starts a doormat and stays so.
Excellent performances scuppered somewhat by an inconclusive script.
December 2, 2006

Super Reviewer

This thriller was not really shocking between the affair and accident.
November 12, 2006
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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