The Secret Life of Words

Director: Isabel Coixet
Year: 2005
Country: Spain
Running time: 115 mins

Spain
Screenplay: Isabel Coixet
Executive producers: Augustín Almodóvar, Jaume Roures
Photography: Jean Claude Larrieu
Editor: Irene Blecua
In English
M content may disturb

With: Sarah Polley, Tim Robbins, Javier Cámara, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Eddie Marsan, Julie Christie

Festivals: Venice 2005


In this delicate piece of artistry from writer-director Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me), an enigmatic European factory worker called Hanna drifts through her day with her hearing aid switched off to avoid connecting with the world. Forced to take a break by her supervisor after ten years of working without a vacation, Hanna finds another job as a nurse on an oil rig. Her sole patient is a flirtatious, life-loving burns victim, played by Tim Robbins in charismatic form. As Hanna gradually adjusts to her new surroundings, finding kindred spirits among the oil rig’s eccentric and isolated crew, her shell begins to crack. Played with exquisite sensitivity and depth by actress Sarah Polley, Hanna’s silence alerts us to a hidden continent of emotional devastation. Something terrible has happened to Hanna and when her shocking revelation comes it will stay with you long after you’ve left the cinema. “The exquisitely coordinated performances elicit an empathy as powerful as anything I can remember feeling in a recent film.” — Stephen Holden, NY Times

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