“In Secret” is all whispers and heaving bosoms and furtive trysts; it’s kind of a 19th-century “Fatal Attraction,” minus the boiled bunny. In the 1860s French countryside, a lovely orphan named Therese (Elizabeth Olsen) is forced by her domineering aunt (Jessica Lange) into marrying her sickly cousin (Tom Felton, a world away from Draco Malfoy in the “Harry Potter” movies). They move to Paris, where Therese’s eye falls on the handsome Laurent (Oscar Isaac, a world away from “Inside Llewyn Davis”). Bodices rip, suspicions fly, and soon things turn picturesquely murderous, with equally striking remorse.
Based on the novel “Thérèse Raquin” by Zola (and a subsequent play by Neal Bell), “In Secret” has an appealing elegance to it; the soft candlelight, shadowy interiors and finely detailed costumes are a pleasure. But writer/director Charlie Stratton’s hand is a bit too heavy: We’re shown a caged animal in the park, a shot of Therese gazing out through windowpanes that look like cell bars, a lingering gaze at a butcher as he hacks away at raw meat. Though it’s always a pleasure seeing Lange being theatrically anguished (you expect the skies to part with thunder), or Olsen’s doleful beauty, “In Secret” never quite rings true. It feels like a story we’ve seen before, in different clothing.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org