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  • Although modern in it's time frame, there is something haunting and unsettling from the opening scene, as in a classic Hitchcock movie of yesterday. Excellent performances by Daphne Zuniga and Duncan Regehr whose art work adds a lot of class to the movie. The cinematography is stylish and the music is haunting and first rate, more like you would hear in a cinema than on TV. The cops are not clever, but are they in Aruba? The twist in the end is a real shocker, and unexpected. Although the movie is definitely a Lifetime formula, what separates it is the style and performances, and a definite spooky atmosphere which is not often seen on TV. Finally, if you have ever been to the Pacific North West, this movie captures it beautifully and accurately. A classic!
  • broadpath20 February 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is a made-for-TV movie which means it had a small budget and an expected short life. It was made without great expectations and it succeeded.

    So here is what I can never figure out about TV movies: why does the director overlook too-obvious flaws? For example, when a woman is running through the wet dark woods to escape a man with a gun would she not think to take off her BRIGHT WHITE coat? Or when she is sneaking up on the killer and has to walk across a hardwood floor she keeps her shoes on. Has this director never walked across a hardwood floor? They are noisy, even in a new house. Either the floor would squeak or her shoes would clomp. How much more would it have cost to have the woman slip her shoes off? And when a black BMW with a tinted windshield comes screaming up behind you and then bumps into you remember the old destruction derby trick. Slam on your breaks! That crushes the radiator on the car behind you and it will stop.

    When you are alone and approaching a house where someone is pounding - like a sledgehammer against the wall - and you think the person pounding is a killer DON'T GO IN THE HOUSE ALONE! Here is another thing: when a man is shot in the stomach from short range he does not just fall over dead. He would easily have time to choke you out.

    Never trust a man who always talks in a whisper.

    The "young bank teller" has the skin of a haggard 40 year-old.

    The killer is the insurance agent "Mike" and the bank teller is his accomplice. Mike finds the remaining $5M, kills his accomplice and then chases our heroine into the woods where she shoots him with his own gun. She secretly takes the $5M before calling the police. In the end she drives off in a scene exactly like Terminator in a jeep with the bag of money in the back. By the way, the top is down on the jeep and the bag of money is wide open. If I were driving that jeep I would zip up the bag so the money would not fly out. But I guess that would have cost too much.

    This movie is enjoyable in its idiocy. I watched it and enjoyed it because it was is a classic of its genre. And its genre is crappy films.
  • AeCool20 July 2005
    'Secret Lives' With Daphne Zuniga and Duncan Regehr.

    A great movie, pretty pretty good. Daphne Zuniga is a very awesome actress. 'Secret Lives' is directed by George Mendeluk.

    I think 'Secret Lives' it's a pretty movie, thrilling, and a really great plot. Excellent acting, ALL THE WAY !!

    When art professor Jill Thompson (DAPHNE ZUNIGA OF "AMERICAN DREAMS" AND "MELROSE PLACE") receives news that her hubby has just been killed, she is stunned — she thought he had died more than 10 years ago! Now she goes digging into her spouse's secret past and discovers infidelity, embezzlement and other horrors. You'll never guess how this thriller turns out...watch and see!

    **** / 5
  • Jill, an art professor who lives in Eugene, Oregon, finds out her husband Leonard had a life she didn't know about. His body is found near his fabulous house on an island off Washington. He is not wearing a shirt, yet it was in the 30s when he supposedly died. And even if he wanted to be macho, he had marks on his body that he didn't like people to see.

    So Jill wants to find out the truth. So does Mike, but Sheriff Knowles (who is willing to cooperate with Jill) wishes Mike would stay out of the investigation. Someone with a BMW wants Jill to drop her search for the truth as well. This may be the same person making harassing phone calls, and possibly the person leaving the ominous notes.

    Leonard supposedly embezzled $10 million from his company. This may be related to his death. He also had a St. Nicholas medallion which belonged to his father. Amazingly, with all the research on that medallion, Christmas is never mentioned!

    This movie was in trouble when I realized my favorite scene was the one with Jill's beautiful gray and white tabby Cleo. In second place was the time Jill almost fell. This is a well-done stunt, whether Daphne Zuniga does it herself or not. The scene with the BMW provided some excitement, but for the most part this was boring until close to the end. Then this is something worth seeing--interesting plot twists, creepy music and an outstanding, chilling performance from the actor playing the likely killer (oh, we know by now this person did it--but no proof is ever given).

    Daphne Zuniga is likable enough. Her lawyer, Shelby, on the other hand, is a witch--when the actress playing her doesn't seem to be reading her lines. Lisa Ryder seems more natural in the role later, but sometimes ends up too cutesy after the way she started out. Anne Openshaw stands out with her few lines as a bank teller who knew Leonard.

    There is beautiful scenery in what is supposedly the American Northwest, although this was apparently filmed in Canada. People who like old-time Appalachian mountain music, the type used in historical programs such as those shown on PBS stations, might enjoy background music that sounds like dulcimer. I'm not an expert, but that's what I think it is.

    Just your standard Lifetime woman-in-jep movie.
  • SnoopyStyle13 July 2020
    Jill Thompson (Daphne Zuniga) lost her husband ten years ago, leaving her little except debts. Insurance agent Mike McCoy tells her that her husband had actually died a week earlier. She discovers that he lived a life of comfort and secrets. Shelby (Lisa Ryder) is her lawyer friend.

    It makes no sense that she would trust Mike or not call the cops after the various incidents. At the very least, an insurance agent would want whatever money as a matter of good business. Even an honest agent can't be on her side. She's too stupid. In these movies, the protagonist never calls the cops. That's bad writing. The turn is not inevitable but it's not compelling. As for the ending, her car makes no sense unless the girlfriend sabotaged it. In which case, he wouldn't know that and his slow walk would make no sense. It's a bunch of non-sense anyways.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Secret Lives" unfolds with many of the techniques of film noir: mood lighting; insurance agent investigating a scam; murder; deceit; and plot twists. Unfortunately, the pacing of the film was labored and there simply was not enough action to support a crime drama.

    Jill Thompson is a painter and art history teacher in Oregon. Ten years ago, her profligate husband Leonard died in a fire, leaving her financially strapped. Now, an insurance investigator, Mike McCoy, shows up at her doorstep with evidence that the husband had faked his death, moved to Washington state, and recently died of a heart attack while running in the cold with no shirt. Jill does not buy the story and begins to investigate herself the circumstances of her former husband's secret life and suspicious death.

    St. Nicholas of Myra (good ol' Saint Nick) figures in the details that Jill discovers as clues leading to the truth about her husband. The quick-thinking Jill uses St. Nicholas as the password to enter Leonard's multi-million-dollar bank account. This is one of the more interesting details in a by-the-numbers action film.

    As the narrative gets bogged down in alternative scenes in Oregon and Washington, there is very little action other than an incident where Jill is nearly run off the road. There are far too many stretches filled with conversations that do not advance the film's action. Other characters include Jill's friend and attorney, Shelby; an incompetent police officer in Washington; and a bank teller who knows more about Leonard than she is letting on.

    Jill was an engaging heroine on the trail of her husband's killer. But the film needed greater sparks in the developing relationship between Jill and the insurance man Mike. A touch of romance developed when they kissed. But true to the form of this sluggish film, the kiss was followed by a scene at the motel where they are staying: Jill and Mike proceed to enter separate rooms!!!