His Secret Life

Critics Consensus

Well-acted soap opera.

74%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 35

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,710
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His Secret Life Photos

Movie Info

While going through her husband's belongings after he dies in a horrible accident, Antonia (Margherita Buy) makes the startling discovery that he had for years been carrying on an extramarital affair -- with a man. Shocked, angered, and fascinated, Antonia begins to learn more about her late husband's colorful other life, and in the process meets his lover, Michele (Stefano Accorsi). The two do not get along; Antonia, although eager to better understand her dead spouse, is angered by his betrayal, while Michele resents Antonia because he always felt his status in her husband's life was second to that of her. Despite their initial animosity, however, Antonia and Michele gradually realize that they need each other to cope with the loss of their shared loved one, and even develop an unconventional attraction to one another. His Secret Life, which was directed by Ferzan Ozpetek, a Turkish-born, naturalized Italian whose film makes use of his diverse cultural heritage, was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

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Critic Reviews for His Secret Life

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (17)

  • Le Fate Ignoranti is a clever stab at the twilight world of the heterosexual male but it doesn't twist the knife. The premise is quite delicious.

    Dec 6, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Ozpetek offers an AIDS subtext, skims over the realities of gay sex, and presents yet another tired old vision of the gay community as an all-inclusive world where uptight, middle class bores like Antonia can feel good about themselves.

    Mar 23, 2003 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Jamie Russell

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • It's a soapy, simplistic, but surprisingly affecting ambisexual melodrama that plays a little like Pedro Almodovar without the surreal frills.

    Feb 28, 2003 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • It's a lovely film with lovely performances by Buy and Accorsi.

    Feb 13, 2003 | Rating: 3/4
  • A warm but realistic meditation on friendship, family and affection.

    Feb 13, 2003 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Though intrepid in exploring an attraction that crosses sexual identity, Ozpetek falls short in showing us Antonia's true emotions ... But at the very least, His Secret Life will leave you thinking.

    Feb 6, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for His Secret Life

  • Oct 08, 2012
    The symbolism is overt to the ending shot, but that doesn't mean the film is bad; in fact, the film is quite good. I had one technical critique about the film and that is it seems the entire film was shot on the same lens. Every shot goes out of focus in the background save two or three. The sets are lavish and well lit so I am confused as to why such an artistic approach was brought to the film. It works quite well, but the framing seems to indicate that the director sees the love between same-gendered couples as shallow in opposition to what he's trying to convey, which is the contrary. After watching it a few more times, I may understand the meaning behind this, but it seems lazy to shoot an entire film with one or two lenses. Other than that, I loved the lighting, the story, the camera blocking, and the performances. Many things I miss because I don't speak Italian, granted, but I guess my only other complaint or critique would be that there's such a deep rooted respect among the entire group but outright nobody treats anyone else with respect. That seemed strange to me, but I don't know the culture or the language, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt that I'm missing something in context. I did love the dialogue between the main characters, however. It was very refreshing and . . . real.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 01, 2011
    Well..here's a movie that I totally did not plan on liking, but I did. Kind of alot. I instantly empathized with the wife, who was unaware of her husband's second life. I found this story of both the wife and the lover coming to terms with the false reality of their lives, and then come to value each other in ways never imaginable, very captivating. And, for some reason, I found Stefano Accorsi (the gay lover) very captivating, also. AND I thought the ending was very clever. Kudos!
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 17, 2007
    Good performances and an interesting story are hampered somewhat from choppy continutity
    jay n Super Reviewer

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