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  • Oh, Secret Smile. I love you, but hesitate to recommend you. The last time I did online, I got so much static. And the criticism were mostly valid: it's exploitative, the plot relies on everyone aside from the leads behaving as stupidly as possible, some aspects of mental illness and the legal system are depicted inaccurately, and more. But the main reason why people hate it is because it presses their buttons. Brendan is both very attractive and the ultimate nightmare stalker, and viewers -- not to mention the other characters -- are pushed and pulled between their conflicting feelings about that. When you think about it, it's clever, because it's similar to the push/pull people sometimes feel for their stalker, often an ex that they struggle to get away from, and stay away. Claire's character is less vulnerable than most people, and tries to get out fast, but even so, Brendan insinuates himself into her life. And that is frankly, frightening. Look: I've been stalked twice in my life. I'm far from believing "this can happen to anyone" and victims are helpless, but anyone can be sucked into a stalker's game for a time. And if it hasn't happened to them, the people around you won't understand completely. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said "have you told him to leave you alone?" So I can say with confidence that Brendan's dialogue and behaviour, at least in the early part of the show is realistic. If you can appreciate this show as a crazy nightmare with a core of reality, you will not only enjoy it, but also have some food for thought.
  • I had the misfortune of missing the first part of this mini-drama. How foolish do I feel now? Incredibly. From what I have seen though, wow! Brief summary: woman dates man, woman dumps man, spurned lover tries to get his own back any way he can. I had previously seen David Tennant in Casanova and found him to have an irresistible charm.Tennant's television history as I know it was based in comedy and so I was intrigued to see him starring in a thriller.However, he did not fail to impress me in Secret Smile. His portrayal of a spurned lover hell bent on revenge was both captivating and chilling. One can see how charming he is but one constantly has to remind oneself about what he really is. The supporting cast are amazing. I did not think Claire Goose would be able to make the transition from soap acting in Casualty to such a serious drama. However, I was pleasantly surprised and her role showed how easily people can be controlled and manipulated. Furthermore, I admit I was not enamoured with Kate Ashfield until now. You were with her every step of the way, feeling her anger and frustration. It is not very often that such a suspenseful drama that actually holds you to your seat comes along. Television nowadays has become highly predictable but I am pleased to say that this was not. It was a superbly acted and directed piece. Best performance must go to Tennant. He was able to capture and exemplify how easy it is to dominate one person and how deep an impact that it can have.This is highly prevalent in a society where stalking and domestic violence remains taboo. I was afraid that Tennant would lose his edge with going to mainstream television, but if this is anything to go by, I had nothing to worry about.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    SECRET SMILE is a thriller that was sold to the TV public of having David Tennant as bad guy Brendan Block and to be totally honest I probably wouldn't have watched this if Tennant hadn't been cast as the tenth actor to play the title character in DOCTOR WHO so I was very interested in seeing how he'd play a villain In this type of thriller , much of the performance of the actor playing the villain makes or breaks the production , the whole story rests on one actor so do I think Tennant pulled it off ? Yes just about but not overwhelmingly . Tennant is good looking , though in a slightly effete way but I can see why he has a growing army of female fans falling over themselves to watch whatever he's in . Tennant plays Block just a little too hard edged and nasty a bit too early on . Wouldn't he have been more convincing if he smiled more and used some undoubted charm to woo characters into being on his side ? Sometimes Tennant plays Block a bit too obvious which led this viewer to wonder why characters were unable to see through his manipulation . Mind you Tennant gives a very good performance in comparison to Kate Ashfield who I thought was fairly wooden

    !!!!! SPOILERS !!!!!

    But the failings of SECRET SMILE is down to the story . I've never read Sean French's novel so I don't know how it compares to Kate Brooke's adaptation but I'm afraid it's somewhat silly . The first half of the story ( Episode one ) plays out as a lover scorned takes his revenge on the woman who jilted him and manipulates Miranda Cotton's brother into killing himself . Apparently the brother was a manic depressive and manic depressives when stressed stick their fingers in their ears and make wailing noises . I doubt if French or Brooke's are a psychiatrist so perhaps they should have read up on the condition before they committed the character to paper

    Things get worse in the second half of the story ( Episode two ) but remains highly watchable because of the utterly bizarre plot twists . After courting Miranda's sister Kerry Block then dumps her on their wedding day and marries Miranda's friend Laura instead who then turns up dead in a bath tub . After several more twists and turns that defy comprehension Block rapes Miranda and then murders her and dumps the body and is then given a life sentence for murder and there's a twist at the end which I could see coming a mile away . The end

    The twist is what SECRET SMILE will be remembered for and I fail to see how it could possibly work in real life . It all rests on Block turning up at Miranda's flat and accepting a glass of wine and the more you think about it the more things fall apart . What you mean you can emigrate to Australia without any references or without any checks being made . Don't the authorities do background checks and wouldn't they realise that the person you're claiming to be got drowned in a bath ? But I guess since he's going to be starring in DOCTOR WHO next year David Tennant had better get used to appearing in drama's with contrived endings . Bad Wolf anyone ?
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film is rather exciting, there are no boring dialogs or overextended scenes, script writer and director do know their job. David Tennant is gorgeous as a psycho. He is charming, he is creepy, he is, well, good at sex scenes. Kate Ashfield as Miranda is great disappointment. She actually has only three types of expression: smiling, crying and frowning. And you can tell crying from frowning only by the drippling tears.

    But the plot really sucks. I don't know, how Fabricci managed to create such an unconvincing story. There is a list of the most outrageous crap, happening throughout the movie:

    1)You dumped a guy for stealing your spare keys and rummaging in your stuff? Please, don't change your lock for any account. And keep on leaving your spare keys at the exactly same place. Why should maniac bother about making a duplicate?

    2) Police has no evidence against you and you left a bunch of bills and a letter in yout ex's flat? That's the reason to panic! You have to break in and leave a mess.

    3) Someone broke in your flat and left a mess? Don't try to leave the place and block the entrance. Don't call the police. Don't ask your neighbours to witness. Just step in, don't be afraid. And don't change your lock. Again

    4) You need to put someone in jail? Just concoct a wibbly-wobbly plan and pretend you're dead. And start a new life as another person, that is really dead. Just put on a wig. Wigs are convincing. And Australia is heaven, that is why they're selling tickets to recently deceased

    5) You're a maniac and you're breaking in the same apartment for the third time? Obviously it is OK, if your victim got used to it and even prepared a glass of wine for you
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a 3 part mini-series. I almost stopped watching after the first show because it was so annoying to expect viewers to believe that the main character was completely stupid, clueless, and spineless. If the makers could only have tightened up the plot to make it believable, this would have been excellent - good acting, interesting relationships, fine settings, etc.

    However, it is just so annoying to have a woman living alone who breaks it off with a really creepy guy who had the audacity to take a key to her flat and go through all her things to NOT change the locks. Or to not really explain to her sister why this guy is so creepy once sis starts dating him. Or to let the creep & her sister move into her flat with her.... and then to not lock either the bathroom door or her bedroom door when creep lives there. Or to not say anything when he completely rearranges her flat and takes half her clothes away. Etc, etc, etc.

    One thing this movie is good for: reminding everyone that there can be serious negative consequences to jumping into bed with someone you don't really know.
  • I would have to disagree with the comments made previously. Secret Smile was a complete breath of fresh air to drama. The characters were unusual and that is what made it an absolute triumph. I'm glad that Miranda mumbled, it shows her passiveness and lack of control in the situation. It's different that her sister was the weak one because in the end, we see the dominating character that was Brendan fooled by his own game, by the people we perceived as weak. So what if Troy isn't a class example of you depression. Who cares if you have a degree in Psychology? You're just bitter because it isn't they way you studied depression. It's fiction. Get Over It. Forget all the factual stuff of depression and the psychology behind. Fair enough I don't have the degree, but I found it truly though-provoking and found myself comparing my personality to the persona of some of the characters. It's good that I connect with the programme because you want to be fooled into thinking. Nobody has time to pick out all the certain flaws in a television programme. I loved Secret Smile and it certainly fooled me. And that my friend was pure elite drama.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Miranda meets Brendan, a charming bloke, beds him in an instant, and then is amazed to find out he's a cad! Excuse me dear, in this day and age that's self destructive. He gets royally ticked off when she dumps him and gets his own back by dating her sister and ingratiating himself with her clueless family.

    There is her brother, mentally ill, and a certain foil for Brendan's evil influence. He mugs Miranda's next love, apparently at Brendan's urging, who then departs the scene when he thinks Miranda is too obsessed with Brendan's manipulations. Miranda discovers Brendan's past is full of "crazy" behavior and dumps it all out at a family gathering, but no-one believes her, the silly saps all go against her "evidence". Why? Because Brendan has a bombshell of his own to drop. Miranda slept with her sister's former boyfriend back in God knows when! How does he know: he read it in her diary.

    Does anyone, including Miranda, point out that her "evidence" come from a source that can be contacted and verified whereas his "evidence" comes from underhandedness. No! Mom and Dad go with Brendan's obvious "cattiness", because that drives on the drama! Then her brother kills himself, and we are left to believe Brendan had something to do with it, but he's so cloyingly self effacing at the funeral that everyone - except Miranda - falls for it.

    When Brendan dumps the sister and marries Miranda's best friend, are the parents chagrined by their disloyalty? There is no sign of it. The sister even blames Miranda for it! What did Miranda do to deserve such a clueless and uncharitable lot? Then Brendan's new bride shows up dead in her bath tub. The police, evidently without any access to CSI technology, declare it as an accident! Another plot device to drive on the drama: make the cops look like idiots! It goes on and on, with poor old stupid Miranda being out foxed at every turn by this evil SOB! She's so stupid that when he manages to convince a Judge (who also does not seem to have access to evidentiary procedures) that she is a menace, and has a restraining order placed against her, she goes running off to his home when his latest bride calls her! Hey, it's effective to most of the female audience! By now they're so wrapped up with him getting his come uppance, that they don't care if the usual detective work goes missing! In the end she gets her revenge and poor old Brendan is hauled off to Jail for something he is innocent of, namely her murder. She lets her family believe she's been murdered, until Brendan is safely ensconced in Jail and then shows up to meet them at the airport in Australia! The dim witted couple are so pleased to see her, and evidently so pleased that Brendan is in Jail on trumped up charges, that they all live happily ever after! The plot is exasperating yet enthrallingly bad, It's enthralling if you accept that everyone has to ignore the obvious, and that is: The authorities are all stupid and incompetent! The main protagonist has a past, as our heroine uncovers. Do the police check it out: NO! Does the Judge check it out? NO! Do her parents check it out: NO! Does her sister: NO! It's all a typical BBC production, predicated on the audience being interested enough in the unfolding drama, that they accept that this guy is going to continue to fool everybody, so that our heroine has to take justice into her own hands. Roll over Agatha!
  • The previous review is grossly unfair. It's a reasonably good drama of its type, some normal people and a disruptive presence suddenly appears in their lives, how do they all react? Sure, some of US may have reacted differently and said different things, you could say that of any film or play! The police appear terminally dim? Well, goodness, that's hardly a novelty on film or TV either?! Tennant is suitably nasty as the evil presence, nicely persuasive and threatening when he can't quite get his own way. The parents are well-played, many people want to see the best side of friends and acquaintances, and the sisters are also good performances. There'd have been lots of different possible endings, go with the flow and see what the author chose!
  • I agree with Jane Dow, except that for "interesting" I have to substitute "predictable"! I missed the first 20 mins of part 1 of this last night (which didn't seem to matter ...); part 2 is on tonight and having looked at the reviews, I now know that there is a "surprise" end. But, that doesn't change the flaws in this story, too many to list here - and Jane Dow has nailed most of them. But from what I've read, the "surprise" is equally flawed and unrealistic.

    This reminds me vaguely of another 2-part TV film that was shown on the BBC last year: it was called "The 7.39", starring David Morrissey and Sheridan Smith. This was very slow moving but equally predictable - no surprise ending so less flawed because it was so mundane. What I find amazing is that "The 7.39" got a lot of hype before it was shown (... following which it got a lot of flack!); I only came across Secret Smile on TV last night by chance, but I have to say that judging by the quality, or lack thereof, of programmes like this, I think I need to get my pen/computer out! If TV companies are happy to continue to make TV films that are implausible, I can come up with some good story lines: to make them more exciting and appealing they too would be a bit flawed and thin on research (I would be a bit more diligent in having my characters having COMMON SENSE though!), but if anyone's interested, I'm here :-)
  • this film was actually one of the best films that i've seen and the fact that David Tennant was in the film made me want to see it after his brilliant appearance in Casanova and not to mention Doctor Who. i felt like it was my duty to see this film and considering that i don't usually watch anything that appears on ITV1 unless it's a film that i am sure of. David Tennant's appearance stunned me and i really like the last few minutes. great film, i'd recommend it to anyone, any time, any day. The whole film gave me shivers and the cold, cruel character that David Tennant played was such an indescribable character and my god it is now my favourite film. I was told that i should watch it because it's my sort of film and not to be mean but the beginning bored me a bit but i soon got the gist of the film nd went with the flow. there is so much that i want to say about how i feel towards the film but the only problem is how to put it into words. The film was great, Tennant was even better (not to mention sexy), and the plot was very cool,too. i wish that i had been there when the film was actually being made as it makes me want to cry yet it also makes me want to kill some of the characters. I'd never seen David Tennant play such a chilling and mysterious character before and it was such an abrupt change from his character as the Doctor and Romeo (Romeo and Juliet). This film is a must-see so make it top of your priority's to see this film J.
  • This show is too creepy. Besides, nobody in their right mind would permit this type of behavior without exposing Brendan to the family (all the family). It's just unrealistic to believe this happened.

    We stopped watching half way through Episode 1, and I regret we wasted that much time on it.
  • pavlovsgirl19 December 2005
    I haven't read the book of this and based on this adaptation, will not bother. I hated every character in this show - Miranda was slutty, selfish and mumbled miserably through the appalling dialogue, her sister was a total wimp, and this was the worst depiction of manic-depression I have ever seen. I have a degree in Psychology, and this was not accurate. In fact, until it was mentioned, I did not realise Troy was supposed to be bipolar - I thought he was a normal, slightly grumpy teenager.

    The only saving grace in this stupid show was David Tennant, whose brilliantly psychotic performance was the only thing that got me to watch the second half.

    Clearly the writers and producers of this show have not done any research - Troy's mental problems are not remotely accurate, nor are the forensics involved in the "twist" ending (and if you did not spot that a mile off, you are a big ole dummy!)

    Utter garbage.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This drama is based on the novel by Nicci French.Having read the book i hoped that they would be true to the story,and they were. David Tennant was absolutely chilling as the creepy,but handsome and charismatic Brendan Block.A total departure from Doctor Who.There is none of his quirkiness in this drama.Brendan Block is EVIL.This i would say is one of David Tennant's best roles to date. Kate Ashfield as Miranda Cotton is brilliant too.Her portrayal as the heroine who refuses to give up,until she nails Block was fantastic. Claire Goose put in a very good performance as Kerry (miranda's sister,and one of Block's victims) Miranda meets Brendan,and after a torrid ten day relationship,finishes with him,after she catches him reading her diary,and rifling through her belongings. He can't accept this,and sets out to take revenge on her,and basically ruin her life,starting with Kerry. The drama continues to hold you,until the very end scene. Will Miranda stop him,or will Brendan ruin her life,and threaten her friendships,relationships,and very sanity. A totally absorbing drama to the end. From the same director of the recent excellent drama See No Evil.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this because I'm not particularly familiar with David Tennant, and wanted to see him act in more than 3 minutes of Harry Potter before moving on to see him replace Chris Eccelston in Doctor Who.

    I was really surprised at it, I mean some of it was a bit predictable, but the tale of a good thriller is that even if you know what's coming, you're heart-rate still pumps higher with anticipation.

    My bruvva (who has an attention span of a 5 year old) stayed to watch all of part 2 with me, so you know it's interesting.

    Basic premise is that of many a Lifetime movie -- woman comes upon a mysterious seductive man, only to realise he's a bugger, bail out, and then can't shake him off. Only she knows he's dangerous -- everyone else sees her warnings as jealous or bitterness. How Lady Cassandra.

    DTennant plays the role of the creepy guy who gets away with everything perfectly. Frighteningly well, really. But give him due credit at least for being able to carry the movie.

    The plot is not that original, but what is original these days. The acting, directing and producing really carry the movie, and I guarantee you by the end of the movie you will dislike Brendan.

    My only complaint comes at the end of the movie (SPOILERS BEWARE!!) because they sort of pull a Hollywood trick on ye. I much prefer the illusional ending of the main character dying, instead of sneaking her in at the last minute. I sort of think that a cheat.

    Other than that, two thumbs up, brilliant, highly recommended, will watch again!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Secret Smiles starred David Tennant (Dr Who) as Brendan Block, Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead) as Miranda Cotton and Claire Goose (Waking the Dead) as Kerry Cotton.

    Miranda and Brendan meet at a party and end up going back to her flat for sex. Their relationship lasts about 10 days until Miranda ends it because she discovers that Brendan has taken her spare keys and has been reading her diary from when she was 18.

    3 months later Miranda is having lunch with her sister Kerry who tells her she has a new boyfriend... Brendan. Miranda seems to be OK with this although she thinks that Brendan is odd and she doesn't like him.

    About 5 weeks after Kerry and Brendan meet they announce their engagement. Miranda is devastated as she doesn't like Brendan. Kerry and Brendan sell their flats but have trouble buying a new one and end up having to stay with Miranda for a while. One evening Brendan comes into Miranda's room when she is in bed and straddles her claiming they used to make love like that. Miranda tries to push him off but the end up rolling over on the bed. Naturally, Kerry walks in and goes berserk and storms out. Brendan slaps her and she comes back, furious with Miranda.

    During this time Brendan has made friends with Kerry and Miranda's younger brother Troy. Troy is a manic depressive and Brendan manages to convince him that Miranda doesn't love him and then he kills himself by jumping out of Miranda's window. This makes Miranda try sell her flat. At the funeral Brendan meets Laura, Miranda's best mate.

    The day of Kerry and Brendan's wedding arrives and as Miranda turns up at her parents house she finds out that the wedding has just been called off by Brendan because of Laura. Miranda goes round to see Laura and Brendan tells her that him and Laura got married that morning.

    About 3 months later Laura rings Miranda and says she wants to talk to her and when she turns up at the meeting place Brendan turns up instead of Laura. Miranda gets worried and goes to Laura's house only to find Laura dead in the bath.Miranda thinks Brendan killed her because she rang Miranda.

    A few months later Kerry has a new boyfriend as does Brendan, but Miranda feels responsible and worried for Brendan's new girlfriend and goes to see her telling her that Brendan is dangerous and that she should leave him. Brendan finds her in his flat and gets a restricting order out on Miranda. Naomi (Brendan's new girlfriend) calls Miranda and tells her that Brendan has been hurting her and that she needs to come to the flat. It is a trap but Naomi manages to warn Miranda so she doesn't get caught by the police.

    Naomi leaves Brendan and stays with Kerry but Brendan blames Miranda and goes to her apartment and rapes her. Then when Miranda's moving people turn up the next morning they find her blood in the bathroom and then everyone assumes the worst. Brendan is arrested and when his case finally gets to court he is found guilty and goes to prison. Miranda's parents get plane tickets to Australia from Naomi and when they and Kerry get there the find Miranda... she had faked her death.

    We then find out what really happened.

    Miranda drugged Brendan just before he raped her and although he did rape her When he had passed out/fallen asleep Miranda managed to get out from under him but he wakes up and comes after her. He chased her into the bathroom and we assume he has a knife as it looked like he picked one up and we think that he stabs her but what really happens was he didn't pick up a knife and when he got into the bathroom he tried to attack her again but passed out because of the drugs. Miranda drags him back to the living room and takes a syringe of blood, that has already been taken out of her arm, from the fridge and spreads it around the bathroom so to frame Brendan. Brendan wakes up and leaves not thinking anything of the fact that Miranda isn't there.

    Miranda's movers turn up and find the blood and think the worst when the reality is that Miranda is pretending to Laura, as Brendan gave her Laura's passport and belongings when she died, and is on her way to Australia with Naomi.

    This may not be everybody's cup of tea but those who like psychological thrillers will love it as will as those who are fans of David Tennant (like me) especially as he was amazing, showing of yet another side of his acting talent and proving he can do just about anything. There is a bit of sex/nudity in it and those who like David are treated to his body at the beginning and his backside at the end when he rapes Miranda.

  • Oh, Yawn. Not another chick flick where the men are all pigs and the women will get even for the abuse they suffered. The only difference is that, in this film, everybody's a pig or has mush for brains. I hated this film for the moral issue of why it's right to send a man to prison for life for a murder he didn't commit. Is that a more immoral act than his abuse and deviousness. This movie shows all the situational ethics of bad writing. I saw it on the CBC's "Best of Britain" series. If this is Britain's best, no wonder the British film industry is in trouble.

    The only bright spot in this film was David Tennant, He plays his character as so despicable that I'm likely to spit on the next person who speaks with a Scottish accent. Kate Ashfield tries to play the victim but comes off in the end as immorally devious as David Tennant's character. They deserve each other.

    In the mush for brains category are the parents who see nothing wrong with the obviously psychotic Brendan. English policemen are made out to be so incompetent that they're unfit to give out traffic tickets. The British Policeman's Union should sue the makers of this film for defamation.

    This film isn't worth the electricity it takes to run your DVD to watch it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As a new fan to David Tennant I wanted to get my hands on everything this brilliant man has done. However; when I read the synopsis of this movie, I knew that this was one that I would not be eager to watch. David is a brilliant actor and I absolutely love seeing him as and of the number of adorable characters he usually portrays. The point is that in the majority of David's roles, he portrays good guy characters. "Secret Smile" is not one of them and as a fan it is difficult to see him as anything other than the likable, charming, 10th regeneration of The Doctor.

    This movie is promoted as a drama and a thriller. David's character Brendan Block has been described as a stalker and a psycho; terms that completely miss the mark on what Brendan truly is. This movie is about romance gone wrong, and obsession but the terms that seem to be missing in most comments about this show are; abusive relationships, domestic violence, control, and manipulation.

    I finally sat down and watched this show because I wanted to be able to discuss its background themes, and have a working knowledge of David's work. The movie itself is well done, the storyline is good, David is brilliant as ever, but I will most likely not be watching this show ever again simply because the subject matter hits way too close to home (I'll explain). Having said all of that, it is definitely a movie worth seeing. The movie does have quite a few plot twists and dramatic turns, although I pretty much knew how things would play out not because of poor writing or poor storytelling but because I've lived it. I knew things would escalate and I knew Miranda was making all the wrong moves because I made them too.

    The character Brendan Block is not just a psycho he is a sociopath. What is the difference, you may ask? Everyone can spot a psychopath, a sociopath is clever and charming enough to move through society undetected but still be a bit psycho. David's natural skill at being charming was perfect for this role. Abusive partners are generally very charming and skilled at the art of control and manipulation. They know how to say just the right thing at the right time. Once the trust is gained, the abuser begins to control by crossing social boundaries and then the threats begin if they do not get what they want. All of these points are touched on within the movie if you pay attention.

    In the beginning Brendan was extremely charming to everyone but was able to hide his possessive nature by directing the blame off of his actions and directing them at the victim or the victims family. On a basic level we want to trust people and want to believe that everyone is good. Abuser's know this fact and use it against their victims. If you have the stomach for it, and you've already seen it once, see it again with new eyes with the knowledge you now have of what Brendan did. You will see just how he lied and manipulated his way through all of their lives, with no proof and little more than a suggestion.

    David has played dual roles before as twins who dressed and acted differently in "Nativity 2", and as a clone of himself in "Dr Who". As Brendan Block he does an excellent depiction of a man who although does not have a dual personality, he does lead a double life. The difference in his eyes when he is acting "sincere" to his lover, and the maniacal look he has when he looks at Miranda as if to say "I win", is ever so subtle but there nonetheless and highly effective. How well he portrayed the two sides of Brendan was quite frightening, and for me made it difficult to watch because it brought up flashbacks of my own life with a sociopathic husband. David is a brilliant actor, but frankly I don't ever want to see him in this role ever again because he did it just a little too well.

    Being American, I had to watch this on You Tube because we are horribly deprived of David Tennant in this country. I am not sure if there were any promotions for help with domestic violence centers shown with this program or with the DVD but there should have been. In my opinion this was a much better portrayal of domestic violence issues, than "Recovery" was at portraying head trauma injuries. "Secret Smile" depicts just how bad it can get, whether or not the abuser physically hits you. When will people realize that the real abuse in abusive relationships is mental abuse, not always physical abuse?

    Some people commented on how they thought Brendan was a creep but were strangely attracted to him regardless because he was portrayed by David Tennant. Most sociopaths such as Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacey, and Charles Manson were all described as very charming and strangely attractive. The movie was trying to point out the fact that Brendan got away with many of the things he did because he was charming and attractive, and nobody questioned his integrity they just assumed he was telling the truth.

    Some people have commented that there was no real evidence that Brendan actually murdered anyone. I don't think there is any evidence that Hitler actually murdered anyone either but that doesn't make him any less of a monster either.

    In closing I would suggest that after watching this movie you have a movie readily available to cleanse your pallet of the character that David played so well. I suggest either "Decoy Bride" or "Nativity 2" to remind you that David generally plays adorable roles and is just as good in those movies too.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I stumbled across this film one night when I was looking for something different. Right from the start I found it compelling.

    The story revolves around Miranda, who quickly jumps into a fling with the charming and confident Brendan (masterfully played by David Tennant). Ten days later, when Brendan is letting himself into her apartment and digging through her diary, Miranda decides to end the relationship. Little does she know how far Brendan will go to get revenge. As he dates and then becomes engaged to her sister, Brendan quickly turns from creepy, to manipulative, to deadly.

    The movie was very enjoyable. It is exciting and suspenseful, not in a disgusting horror way, but certainly a way that leaves your muscles sore from tensing up. Brendan is clearly a master manipulator and his actions move slowly from malicious to cruel to dangerous.

    It was a very enjoyable film but it would have been forgettable if not for the ending. Most people talk about the surprise. It appears that Miranda is murdered by Brendan but it is all an elaborate set up to send Brendan to jail. But his is not what I found so compelling.

    The part that left me pondering late into the night was the number of assumptions I made throughout the film. As you see Brendan's true colors it is easy to imagine him as a mugger, a boy who killed his parents, a manipulator who caused the death of a teen, a thief, an abuser and a man who killed his wife.

    In the trial scene I remember hissing at the TV "GUILTY! Come on GUILTY!" I was surprised when it showed he was innocent but I was shocked when I realized that all his previous actions that led me to believe he was a killer were completely unproven. We have no proof that he manipulated Troy, no proof that he killed his parents, and no proof that he actually got married just to get back at Miranda and Carrie. I still can't decide if I think he killed Lara or screwed over his business partner. It was shocking to realize that with every unchallenged assumption, my judgment grew until I was crying at the TV to condemn an innocent man.

    Overall Secret Smile was a great film. The acting was very well done, the story was excellent and the filmmakers should be congratulated for being almost as manipulative as Brendan.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this 2 part Drama with my family and it was definitely the most disturbing drama I have ever seen. It is likely that I will ever watch this film again and I'm not prepared to let any of my friends see this. It is very disturbing yet fantastically written and Bloody Brill!

    The 2nd part was very sad. The woman does get raped, as I expected and there is a dramatic twist.

    *** DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANNA SPOILER! *** Well.... the ending, as I said, such a DRAMATIC twist. The victim of the rape and apparent 'Murder' goes to Australia while David Tennent (Actor of the weirdo :) has being found guilty at the Court. The police think she is dead but when the young woman's parents go to Australia they discover her, undercover! .... You need to watch it to get this!!!!

    HIGHLY Recommend :)
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When Miranda meets the tall and handsome Brendan through a friend and brings him home she doesn't expect the romance to lead to deception and murder. After a night of carnal bliss the seeming sweet Brendan becomes obsessed with Miranda and integrates himself into her life by seeking out and beginning a relationship with her sister Kerry. Miranda knows that Brendan is being vindictive and wants to protect her family and friends even if they don't believe her. She soon becomes equally obsessed with proving his guilt after people mysteriously die. Could Miranda be sealing her own fate or Brendans when she goes snooping into his life and finds a disturbing past? Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead) gives a fantastic performance along side David Tennant's (Doctor Who) brilliant and convincingly psychotic one.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I found this quite gripping, the acting very good, the characters believable. Manipulative (here to the point of psychotic) people such as Brendan do exist, though, despite being a liar, rapist, and bully, he does not seem to have actually committed murder. In fact, though he is associated with other violent deaths(his parents', Troy, Laura's), it is implied that he only had a psychological hand in them. One perhaps weak point: he is sentenced to life with possibility of parole only after 22 years. The sentence may be unrealistic if only because, despite the incriminating key,Miranda's body was still not found. The basic credo is: no body, no murder. Also: one person commenting on this film may have mentioned Miranda's emigrating to Austalia using a false identity when, the dialog says, she was actually visiting there as a tourist
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I wish someone could explain to me how they could watch this show. In the first 15 min, or whatever it was, why didn't Miiranda tell her sister what happened between them?? Warn her? He was scary, and creepy, and this is her sister werew talking about!! So ok, let's forgive the first 10 times she should have informed her sister what was happening, or even just tell her best friend!...why was she trying to be quiet when he'd confront her or go into the bathroom with her? Let her sister hear! And her father... Saying that Brendan is helping Troy and doing a better job than Miranda...and basically in the same breath, say he's more depressed than he had been. Ok, rant over, I just needed to get that out. I really do wish someone could tell me how Miranda being the biggest idiot (really all of them were) didn't make them angry.
  • alienminx28 December 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    After watching the whole show (both parts of the mini series on BBC America), i really wasn't sure if Brendan deserved what he got. Did he actually do all the things we were lead to believe he did or did Miranda just get obsessed with the whole idea of what she thought he was doing. He did actually move on and get out of her life, but she still persisted on going after him. Was he really a murderer or was he set up by a woman just set on revenge???

    Looking back over it, you really don't know on a lot of things, did he deliberately date Miranda's sister to get back at her (or just to be near her), did he cause Troy's death, did he kill Laura, did he kill his parents, we don't really know, Miranda just leads you to think that. OK, Brendan can be a really nasty piece of work, definitely a split personality.

    I think it's worth another look, just don't look at the flaws too much, it's a good watch, very entertaining, not the best suspense made but David Tennant's performance alone makes it worth watching!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Miranda Cotton meets a guy; takes him home, bit of hanky-panky, they start to see each other. Just like any other relationship. But when she catches him reading her diary, she starts to get a bit worried, and asks him to leave.

    To her shock and terror, in a few months he has proposed to her sister.

    This piece really gripped me from start to finish. I curled up with a blanket and watched it - as a Doctor Who fan for many years, it's important to me that my Doctor is a good actor, and although I'd seen Tennant's acting before and loved it, I wanted to have a final test. I was certainly impressed. Secret Smile had a solid enough storyline that really terrified me in places, but it really was all down to the fabulous casting. Kate Ashfield (Miranda) had you on her side all the way through, conveying well what the emotions were - and Susannah Wise (Miranda's best friend, Laura) and her 'husband', James Daffern, despite having minor roles, impressed me beyond many of the other supporting cast.

    There was not a truly weak performance in the cast. If I had to pick a low point it would probably be Claire Goose, but I think that was just down to a bad character as opposed to the acting; the book's Kerry is considerably different, somehow, and I didn't find myself connecting with this one so powerfully.

    David Tennant was, however, the true highlight - he managed to convey Brendan's truly sadistic side with just a look - and yet still managed to have me feeling sorry for him when Miranda turned him away. 'That line' as it has become known - I won't write it, but suffice to say it's when he was thinking about her lips - was delivered with such a venom, that it physically made me shudder. A wonderful performance with immense presence. Also, kudos to Robert Lowe for a moving piece as Troy Cotton, even if his character was unbelievable.

    Altogether, 10/10 for acting, 7/10 for plot. Definitely worth a watch - I videoed it, and really enjoyed it.
  • jboothmillard14 December 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    Goodnight Mister Tom was brilliant, Footsteps in the Snow was a good biography, and this was another good ITV made-for-TV film. Basically Miranda Cotton (Kate Ashfield from Shaun of the Dead) one day meets a complete stranger and they have sex. After about ten days, she wants Brendan Block (Doctor Who's David Tennant) to leave. Then the next thing she knows, he's met and proposed to her sister, Kerry (Claire Goose). Soon after Brendan poisoning her life, Miranda's sister commits suicide when he believes that she doesn't care about him, says Brendan. Now worst of all, Brendan dumps Kerry for another woman, and now Miranda needs to warn her of what he's capable of. Then the unthinkable and horrible happens, he rapes Miranda. That then clinches it and Miranda and Kerry, oh, and the new girl, form a plan to put Brendan behind bars. This is the really good twist, that it looks like Miranda was dead, because of blood in bathroom and Brendan's fingerprints on her keys, but she was actually having a short holiday. Great idea! Anyway, this is a very good drama, the title obviously suggests his character. Very good!
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