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Movie Review: The Secret Life of Words

Alternate Title: Angels and Demons

Story: I hope words don't fail me in my rave review of this fascinating film by second time director and writer Isabel Coixet (My Life Without Me).

This is not a film for everyone. It takes a long time to unravel but I was riveted from the opening scenes to the closing credits.

Hanna is a partially deaf factory worker who does not socialize or even chat with her co-workers. Her boss forces her to take some time off. Her vacation lands her in a deserted Northern Ireland town. She quickly finds herself volunteering to help a blinded burn victim on a deserted oil rig. By now, you are probably saying, 'so what'? Hang on as we meet some fascinating souls on this very strange oil rig in the middle of nowhere. Each character is interesting and probably could have been a movie unto himself.

How we communicate, what we say or don't say and how film can show what words can often not express is the inherent beauty of this film. The film deals with isolation, shame, regret, guilt, connecting, awakening and redemption all soulfully.

I was knocked out by the performances, the film making, the plot twists and surprises.

Be warned, this is a slow moving film that hits you right in the gut. If you have the nerve to see it and the patience to sit through it, you will walk away a better person.

Acting: Sarah Polley as Hanna, is nothing short of marvelous. She captures the wounded spirit of this woman with an amazing grace. Tim Robbins, as the blinded oil rigger is also terrific. The small supporting cast is stellar with a glowing cameo by the always beautiful, Julie Christie.

Predilection: Any film that the Almovodar bothers have something to do with always catches my eye. They produced the film.

Critters: A goose

Food: Food has a huge part in the film. I was hungry when I left the theater.

Soundtrack: A wonderful track including Tom Waits and Antony.

Theater Audience: Not a large crowd. About 20 others and us.

Weather: The weather is raw in the North Sea.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: When Hanna reveals her story it is harrowing.

Drift Factor: Not for one second.

Predictability Level: I did not know what was going to happen and just hoped for the best.

Tissue Usage: I welled up and my movie buddy cried.

Oscar Worthy: Yes (but there is not a chance this film will catch anyone's eye).

Big Screen or Rental: I have no idea if this is playing anyplace other than a small art house in Manhattan. You will most likely have to rent it. Please do when it is available.

Length: About two hours.