Gregory Kirschling
December 13, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Secret Life of Words

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
115 minutes
Limited Release Date
12/14/02
performer
Sarah Polley, Tim Robbins, Javier Camara
director
Isabel Coixet
distributor
Strand Releasing
author
Isabel Coixet
genre
Drama

We gave it a B-

Can a single scene save a movie? An hour and 20 minutes into The Secret Life of Words, Sarah Polley delivers a halting, evocative 10-minute monologue that finally unlocks the mystery behind her guarded character, a deaf, indeterminately accented nurse caring for a burn victim (Tim Robbins) on a deep-sea oil rig. Polley is mesmerizing as she raises the movie’s stakes, but it comes too late. The sequence is the only highlight of an opaque film that waits too long to tell us why we should care.

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