His Secret Life

 
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Customer Reviews:

  • Our Families Are the People Who Love Us
    Antonia is a physician married to Massimo in what she thinks is a good marriage. When he is suddenly killed, she discovers quite by accident that he has had a male lover for seven years-- well, initially she assumes that the lover is female. She sets out to solve the mystery of her husband's betrayal and discovers his other nontraditional family consisting of Michele and an assorted group of other individuals, a transexual, a lesbian and other gay men et al. Antonia becomes friends with Michele and toys with having an affair with his friend Emir.

    The film makes a beautiful statement on the meaning of family, particularly for those who live outside the traditional dad-mom-and-baby-makes-three definition. Michele takes care of his sick friend Ernesto who has AIDS and is living with him. This entire family supports each other in ways any family should and manages to have a lot of good times in living every day.

    Margherita Buy as Antonia and Stefano Accorsi as Michele are well cast. The supporting actors give good performances as well.

    Be sure and watch this one on a big screen or the subtitles (the film is in Italian) will get in the way of the visuals. ...more info
  • Great story!
    I loved it. It is beautiful to see how the story unfolds between the wife and the husband's lover. A great story of love, friendship, and trust. The soundtrack is also amazing....more info
  • A brilliant Message about Love, Need, and Family
    Released on DVD with the English title HIS SECRET LIFE, this beautifully involving film is another triumph from Director Ferzan Ozpetek in which he explores the sub rosa aspect of the lives of his characters. Antonia is happily married to a handsome Italian man (Massimo) who dies suddenly in an accident, leaving her bereft and lonely. Massimo's friends at work bring Antonia his belongings and in opening the office clutter she discovers a painting ("The Ignorant Fairy") which has an inscription on the back that it is from a lover of seven years. Antonia is convinced that her husband has had another woman and sets out to confront her, only to discover that the lover was a man (Michele) who lives in a wholly gay household with a devoted 'extended family'. At first taken aback, Antonia learns about her husband's bisexuality, becomes part of this extended family and indeed is a very important member as she is the one selected to administer the AIDS IVs to one of the family memebers. Gradually Antonia and Michele grow to understand each other as each related to the common love for Massimo. The ending is too beautiful to destroy by a review. See this film and grow.
    All of the actors are richly gifed and the photography, settings, dialogue, and general message are so strong that this movie should be seen by a very wide audience, perhaps helping to relsove misunderstandings about many aspects of gender identities. A film of great sensitivity, comedy, and grace while it explores a tough subject, director Ozpetek establishes the promises of a wise and compassioante figure in cinema. Highly Recommended....more info
  • Excellent Film
    Saw this in the theatre, and loved it. Great story, well acted, believeable and touching....more info
  • A true life-story
    I just loved this movie! The story is intriguing, clever and real, however to really grasp the meaning of it, you must be hypocrisy-free!
    As an heterosexual wife and mother of 2 young adult heterosexual boys, I was very pleased of seeing a movie which portrait gays under a different light and point of view....more info
  • GREAT MOVIE
    THE STORY IS PERHAPS A LITTLE PREDICTIBLE, BUT IT IS SET IN ITALY, WHICH MAKES IT DIFFERENT FOR THE AMERICAN AUDIENCE.
    GENERALLY THE FIL DEALS WITH TOLERANCE, WITH HAVING A CHOSEN FAMILY, AND WITH ACCEPTANCE.- UNDERSTANDING THE STRAIGHT WORLD AND THE GAY WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF A WOMAN AND A MAN WHO SHARED THE SAME MAN.
    THE STORY OF BEING THE OTHER WOMAN-AS BOTH CHARACTERS WERE "THE OTHER WOMAN", AND THE ROLLS THEY TAKE AND ASSUME GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.


    ...more info
  • A Secret Delight No Longer
    A beautifully wrought story of love and acceptance across many of the lines that divide society. I felt uplifted by the warm hearted nature of this film which simultaneously completely avoids sappy sentimentality. The film is full of surprises and it builds to the final scene so subtly that I have now watched it four times, each time seeing more of what the director layered into the film that brought me to the scene on the terrace. This is well worth purchasing and it also shows the growth of the director over his earlier efforts....more info
  • touching
    good movie. actors are good.
    the storyline is believable and well acted.
    A must see!...more info
  • Beauty and love
    "His Secret Life" tells the story of the wife of a bisexual man, who discovers his other life for the first time after his sudden death in a traffic accident, and she befriends his lover and the Gay family of which he had been a part, secretly. Margherita Buy is lovely as the widow, and handles her role with grace, beauty and sensitivity that binds the film together, effortlessly. Stefano Accorsi plays the lover, who is jealous and resentful of her at first, but ultimately finds himself attracted to her, probably for many of the same reasons that her husband loved her so.

    While the family consists of those who might be considered societal misfits by many people, love and caring bind them together and attract the widow to the group. By understanding them, and what her husband found so special in them, she comes to understand him more fully, and her love for him and his memory deepens. Her anger at his death, and her anger with respect to the lie that his death foist upon her, lessen and finally disappear as she appreciates and accepts the choices that he made in life, putting her first in actuality.

    Also, it is the story of two people, the widow and her husband, who bridge the Gay and straight worlds and find beauty and love in both. ...more info
  • A Pleasant Surprise
    I was pleasantly surprised that this film turned out to be much more multi-layered than the way it was marketed. A woman loses her husband in a car accident. She soon discovers her husband had a lover. She is more shocked to find that the lover was a man. At first angry and resentful, Antonia soon replaces her husband in his circle of friends. In so doing, she discovers he had a completely separate life which had nothing to do with hers. His friends know more about him than she did. The only person who doesn't welcome her with open arms, however, is her husband's lover, who feels as if she is trying to replace her husband with his group of quirky friends.

    There is a sense of competition and jealousy between the two people who loved the dead man most. The jealousy and resentment only increases when Antonia is accepted into the fold of her husband's friends. The characters of the friends are fascinating. Many of them are Turkish immigrants, some are straight, some are gay, and one marvelous character is trans-gender. One of the young Turkish men even falls for the older Antonia. The end is a bit too tidy and stretches the limits of how to end a film in a tidy manner. Still, the characterizations are wonderful and the acting is very strong, and I enjoyed this movie very much....more info
  • A touching and entertaining film!
    His Secret Life touched me. I found myself thoroughly engrossed with the story and relating to both main characters, and the secondary ones. The kind of real emotion and character development is exactly what's missing in most Hollywood films, making me turn to the Foreign section most of the time. This is one of the best gay-themed films I have seen, one anyone can enjoy and relate to. It is a sweet film, heart-warming and touching without being overly sentimental. The chacters are thouroughly developed and experience real emotions as they deal with loss and heartbreak. Words cannot describe how this movie affected me and made me long for a better world where people can care about each other as much as this small group does. A wonderfully entertaining and emotional experience that is highly recommended.

    P.S. Despite the preview, this is not sexually explicit and only features one scene of a gay threesome. The rest of the film is tame....more info

  • The Secret Find
    His Secret Life, directed by Ferzan Ozpetek, tells the story of a Italian couple Massimo (Andrea Renzi) and Anotonia (Margherita Bay) who have been married for many 15 years and are deeply in love, then one day Massimo is struck and killed by a car. It is after the funeral that Anotnia tries to pull her life back together, and she finds evidence that perhaps Massimo has been having an affair, thus ensues the search for the woman. Her search leads her to Michele (Stefano Accorsi) and what ensues is a painful discovery that test the depth of human emotions from both actors.
    Margherita Bay and Stefano Accorsi are beautiful and smart together, the acting is real and raw and the emotional conflict between the two characters captures the viewer and you feel their anguish, betrayal and sense of lost. Director Ferzan Ozpetek for his credit does not contrain the actors or the script and really does take the time to develop the conflict and resolution which adds to the greatness of this film----how well do we really know others and for that matter ourselves. The writing is clean, crisp, and refreshing from the normal drug--sleazy sex scene which seems obessesed in the gay film world. Simple put this movie is true treasure and one you should add to your film collection....more info
  • "Everybody pays a price for secrets"
    His Secret Life is certainly not as interesting as Steam, Ozpetek's previously popular tale involving a young man who inherits a decaying steam bath. But this film does, however, offer some smart observations about family, secretive relationships and the emotional games that people can play with each other. And while the film occasionally falls into the realms of mawkishness and over-sentimentality, it is never dull and is eminently worth watching.

    The story begins in a sculpture gallery and follows the glamorous Antonia (a ravishing Margherita Buy) as she waits for Massimo (Andrea Renzi), her handsome, attentive, and imaginative husband. Both of them have been happily married for fifteen years, and are comfortably off, living in a showpiece house in a middle-class suburb of Rome. Antonia works as an AIDS doctor, and part of her job is to inform people whether they are infected with the HIV virus or not. But one afternoon while counseling a patent she takes a phone call informing her that Massimo - momentarily distracted by his cell phone - was hit and killed by two cars while crossing the street.

    One afternoon, while re-hanging a painting on the wall she discovers a message to Massimo on the back thanking him for "our seven years together" and the name A. Mariani. Stunned, shocked, and thinking her world has come to and end, she tracks down the address; only to find that her husband's secret lover was a man named Michele (Stefano Accorsi). Michele lives in an apartment block with a bunch of eccentric, unconventional and alternative people - a type of Italian extended family - that includes drag queens, transsexuals, Turkish immigrants, and numerous other gay men. All of them are attending to a bedridden friend who is sick with AIDS.

    Antonia thought that she knew everything that she ever needed to know about her husband, but when she discovers that Massimo was keeping from her a whole life - a type of secret, extended family - her world is turned upside down. Gradually, however, she begins to like her new world and develops a deep affection for these people who openheartedly welcome her into their circle. She begins regular visits bringing bottles of wine, helps chop onions in the kitchen, and even enters into a bit of friendly rivalry with Michele. But there's still something missing from Antonia's life, and while she refuses to be honest about the true nature of Massimo's infidelity with her mother, she gradually embarks on a journey of soul-searching.

    Accorsi and Buy pretty much carry the film, with Buy especially good as a woman approaching middle age who is forced to challenge, almost overnight - many of her assumptions about her husband and about peoples sexuality. The interplay between Accorsi and Buy is also good, particularly in the scenes when they quietly reminisce and confide to each other about their respective lives with Massimo. Michele is full of pent-up bitterness that he wasn't able to spend as much time with Massimo as Antonia was able to, and his unleashing of this animosity provides much of the dramatic arc of the film. How much can you truly know about one person is the dominant theme of the film.

    As the movie goes on, over-romanticizing and unrealistic plot points tend to take the place of good, sound, and down-to-earth character development. The movie also tends to lose some momentum, coming across as a sort of alternative lifestyle sitcom as Antonia's desires about what to do with her life is dragged on a little too long. But His Secret Life in generally quite good, even though by the end, most viewers will feel that the film has probably raised more questions than it has answered. Mike Leonard March 05.
    ...more info
  • Best love triangle movie ever! -- plus tips on three other films
    "HIS SECRET LIFE" is a well directed, good story. You already know what it's about, so I will tell you that I liked the way the characters are portrayed. The people seem real and the theme isn't heavy-handed at all.

    An all-around enjoyable movie, I wanted to call "His Secret Life" the best gay movie ever, but I already said that about "Come Undone". Also, this is broader than a gay movie by any comparison. (If you have any doubt, watch this and then see the sex scenes in "Come Undone" and you'll agree that "His Secret Life" is far more appealing to people who are not gay. Tell ya what, if you wanna lock yourself up with a couple great movies then that is the pair.

    This very good film, "His Secret Life", is everything that another one I saw is not: "Steam: The Turkish Bath" is a very bad knockoff of "HSL". Rather than waste good time and money on that one, SEE "HIS SECRET LIFE" TWICE -- and also see the NEXT flick, below:

    IF YOU LIKE "HSL", THEN YOU WILL L-O-V-E "Making Love", Starring Michael Ontkean, Harry Hamlin and Kate Jackson, 3 fine actors who put in some of their best work here. The music is also excellent, by that I mean the title song, "Making Love (There's more to love, than making love)". It reads just like 2005, though it was released in 1982. It oughtta be on DVD by now, but it's still VHS, and is available from Amazon.

    Why are you still reading? Go watch the movie already. "His Secret Life" is everything it promises to be....more info
  • His Secret Life
    This is a beautiful story. We fall in love with a wonderful group of people who have created a world of their own that is supportive, and special attention given to one of the group, Ernesto, who suffers from aids. Into this group comes Antonia who, after the tragic death of her husband, discovers from an inscription on the back of one of his painting that he's had a seven year relationship with a man, Michaeli, in whose home the group meets on a regular basis. The story of how Antonia becomes part of their world is quite moving, and through her work as a health provider for aids' patients she's able to bring Ernesto to a state of good health. The group faces many more crises, but in the end we are left with a warm feeling that all will be well. A hautning musical score....more info
  • you never know
    you think you know the one you love till you find they had a secres\t life it is one of the most beutiful movies i have seen...more info
  • Most Excellent Movie!
    I am not one to watch many movies with subtitles, but this movie is well worth watching! I rented it several times before I decided to purchase it. A purchase I wont ever regret! This movie really draws you in to all of the characters, which are very loveable. It is very tasteful and heart-warming. I cannot say enough good things about this movie! Buy it, you WONT be sorry!!...more info
  • Tender and affectionate
    Ferzan Ozpetek has delivered a wonderful film of love and curiosity regarding one woman's sudden loss and discovery of a life in which her late husband took part. Led by Margherita Buy and her co-star, Stefano Accorsi, Ozpetek has assembled a cast of gay and transsexual characters that are as funny and warm as the Italian day is long. This is Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" transported a continent away.

    As Antonia (Buy) and Michele (Accorsi) meet there is understandable tension. Massimo, Antonia's late husband, had a secret seven-year affair with Michele and the two survivors seem headed toward protecting their own turf. Yet, as the film continues, they are drawn to each other with the need to fill in the holes in each of their lives. Ozpetek does a wonderful job at bringing the film to a poignant close.

    "His Secret Life" is full of outward emotion but the tenderness achieved strikes a nice balance. I highly recommend it....more info
  • Don't judge this film by its stereotypical cover
    Like any discerningly skeptical blue /porn film custumer, I would usually SKIP a flick with a stereotypical flesh-baring cover like this. But a friend recommended it so I quickly watched it and finally had to let my judgement down - the story feels as good as you watch it twice.

    The character of Antonia, the widow who discovered her late husband's 7-year affair with a man, is a remarkable growing spirit and it takes a tour de force for Margherita Buy to play out her guts....more info
  • Massimo we hardly knew thee...
    "Le Fate Ignoranti" (The Ignorant Fairy) is a throwback to the 50 and 60's American melodramas like "Imitation of Life," "The Magnificent Obsession" or more to the point, "Back Street" except that the American versions, some of them directed by Douglas Sirk, were tempered with an overriding sense of irony and humor while "LFI" is, at times deadly serious to a fault.
    "Le Fate Ignoranti" tells the story of Antonia (Marguerita Buy) and her discovery, after her husband Massimo's death, that he had been having an affair with Michele (Stefano Accorsi) for seven years. To put it mildly, this is a shock to Antonia who nonetheless finds herself welcomed into Michele's coterie of friends: some societal misfits, most not.
    It is in this company that Antonia realizes that Massimo had much more than an affair; he had an entirely different life with a whole circle of other friends.
    It is to the director, Ferzen Ozpetek's credit that this film becomes, not a film of revenge or hate but one of understanding and acceptance. Antonia, unlike the Vera Miles character in "Back Street" who does everything she can to make her husband's mistress Rae (Susan Hayward) miserable, learns to care for Michele and his friends. Antonia's mother, obviously a very wise woman and speaking for the writer I would think, says and I'm paraphrasing here: "It is always the mistress who suffers the most, she is the one who must spend holidays alone, she is the one who must wait for the phone to ring, she is the one who must accept her lover's limitations or live without him."
    If Ozpetek makes any miss-steps here it is that some of the scenes are directed with a TV soap opera seriousness that smudges the earnest caring and thoughtfulness of his mise en scene.
    Marguerita Buy does an outstanding job as Antonia: fearful, regretful, scared, repulsed, angered yet ultimately accepting and loving. Stefano Accorsi's Michele is a nice guy who finds himself in an untenable situation: he wants to strike out at Antonia (he does at times) but he also realizes her loss is greater then his and he respects this. Accorsi tempers Michele's pain with remorse and guilt and thereby creates a multi-layered, rather than one-dimensional character. Accorsi and Buy imbue their characters with a sort of damaged nobility that strikes a cord in our hearts and in our minds.
    "Le Fate Ignoranti" is in many ways a "pot-boiler" harkening back to some of the films of the American 50's and 60's but it's head and heart is firmly rooted in the new millennium. It is a film that recognizes the differences in people and embraces and celebrates them wholeheartedly and without question....more info

 

 
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