Charlie Stratton’s In Secret is the most recent adaptation of Émile Zola’s 1867 novel ‘Thérèse Raquin’ and compared to some of the others it is one of the darkest too! Set in the lower society ranks of a gothic 19th century Paris In Secret takes you on a tale of misery, love affairs and tragedy that is not to be missed!
Beautiful young Thérèse (Elizabeth Olsen) is sent to live with her Aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange) and sickly cousin Camille (Tom Felton). After the news that her father has passed away, Thérèse is forced to stay living with her aunt despite her unhappiness. Thérèse grows up living a suppressed life with only her aunt and cousin for company. One summer’s day Madame Raquin announces that she has arranged the marriage of Thérèse to Camille against her will and that they will all be moving to Paris. Thérèse tries to create her own happiness and a romantic relationship with Camille with no avail. She spends months living in her own bubble until Camille’s old friend Laurent (Oscar Isaac) pays a visit. Laurent is an artist; he is fun, intriguing and ever so charming. He awakes a feeling inside Thérèse that she cannot hold back and the two begin a passionate love affair. But in a secret relationship full of lies and deceit things cannot stay exciting forever. In a creepy turn of events, life changes for the whole family which can only end in absolute tragedy.
Olsen’s casting as Thérèse is incredibly satisfying to watch as she plays the character with a miserable detachedness that is essential for the role. Throughout the film we see Olsen transform from an innocent, sexually repressed quiet girl to a bitter resentful women. Isaac’s portrayal of Laurent is also unflawed; he seductively charms the viewers as he does Thérèse and then shocks the audience as he turns maliciously dangerous. The chemistry between the pair is electric, as a viewer you relish in the build up and come crashing back to reality as things take a murderous twist.
Whilst Olsen and Isaac’s performances were absolutely on point, there is one person’s portrayal which is undeniably superior overall. Once again Jessica Lange’s come in and steals the show. Lange is so wonderful in her ability to convey a variety of personality traits and emotions which has been seen in her roles in the series American Horror Story. In Secret is no exception to this with Lange once again coming through with a performance which is strong, harrowing and played out to perfection. Lange plays Madame Raquin, depicting flawlessly the rage and anguish that the mother faces. As a viewer your position on Lange’s character changes as she does, whilst at the start you will see her as the villain by the middle you will be sympathising with her and as the film draws to an end you will feel like cheering as she gets revenge.
If you are a lover of period dramas but also like a good twisted thriller this film is for you!