The Movie Waffler New Release Review - <i>In Secret</i> | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - In Secret

Adaptation of Émile Zola's 1867 novel Thérése Raquin.

Directed by: Charlie Stratton
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Jessica Lange, Oscar Isaac, Shirley Henderson, Matt Lucas

1860's France. Thérése Raquin (Olsen) is a young woman who finds herself unhappily wed to her cousin Camille (Felton), the wedded couple residing in the Parisian home of the domineering Madame Raquin (Lange). When a young artist, Laurent LeClaire (Isaacs), arrives among the Raquin's social set, Thérése immediately falls for him and the two embark on a secret affair.
If there is a heaven, it's likely the classic French novelists Victor Hugo and Émile Zola spend much time arguing over whose bibliography has been given the worst cinematic treatment. While Charlie Stratton's adaptation of Zola's Thérése Raquin doesn't plumb the depths of Tom Hooper's Les Miserables travesty, it's an insipid adaptation of a work once considered highly shocking.
Zola's novel was published in 1867, so naturally the material isn't exactly fresh at this point. If you've seen any 1940's Film Noir, or even a 1990's erotic thriller, you'll be familiar with its tale of a lover duped into murder by a femme fatale. Stratton's film is completely passionless, however, and despite her looks, Olsen's character is an unconvincing temptress. It's difficult to see why any 1860's Frenchman would be led to commit murder for a woman who keeps her clothes on during love-making (how un-French), has no aptitude for cooking (how very un-French), and gives him nothing but attitude (how...okay, we'll give her that one).
Olsen and Isaacs are two of the best American actors of their generation but following reputation making performances in Martha Marcy May Marlene and Inside Llewyn Davis respectively, they've made a series of poor career choices, of which In Secret is the latest.

Eric Hillis