‘In Secret’ is an erotic thriller of the best kind

Published 11:55 am Saturday, March 8, 2014

By Lauren Bradshaw

Phew! That’s the first word that comes to mind when thinking about writer-director Charlie Stratton’s erotic thriller, “In Secret.” Adapted from Émile Zola’s 1867 novel “Thérèse Raquin,” “In Secret” is one of the most passionate (and sexiest) movies I’ve seen since “Unfaithful.” The fact that it is a period film, with an exceptional cast, only adds to its allure.

Set in 1860s France, the story centers on Thérèse (Elizabeth Olsen), a young woman who was sent to live with her aunt, Madame Raquin (Jessica Lange), and cousin, Camille (Tom Felton), after her mother dies and her father goes off to Africa. Due to Camille’s sickly nature, Madame Raquin becomes a helicopter parent, tasking Thérèse with helping take care of her son. As time progresses and Thérèse’s father dies, Madame Raquin forces her niece to marry Camille.

Camille and Madame Raquin aren’t terrible people. They aren’t abusive or particularly terrible; they just aren’t interesting or exciting either. When the family moves to the bustling city of Paris, in order for Camille to embark on a new job opportunity, Thérèse’s desires for amusement and affection are heightened. Cue Laurent (Oscar Isaac), Camille’s sexy coworker who is able to give Thérèse the “vapors” with a mere look. Soon, the two begin a lascivious, intense affair right under the Raquins’ noses. As things continue to heat up, the lovers decide they are sick of sneaking around. They want to be rid of the Raquins once and for all in order to gain their romantic freedom… but how far will they go?

Although there is nothing particularly novel about the plot of “In Secret,” I was still intrigued from start to finish. Who doesn’t like stories focused on an illicit affair? The chemistry between Isaac and Olsen is incredibly realistic, passionate and (of course) HOT! Since this relationship arc is the backbone of the plot, ranging from passion to desperation to guilt, it is up to them to carry the film. Unsurprisingly, they do so with ease.

The performances in this film are the best so far this year. I was once again reminded that Olsen, Isaac and Lange can do no wrong. They are such fantastic actors, I believe it is impossible for them to be bad in a role. Not to mention, Jessica Lange is always at her best when she is lording over others, reinforcing that she is SUPREME. Having not seen Tom Felton in anything other than the Harry Potter franchise, it was refreshing to see that he is not just the malicious Draco Malfoy-esque character; he is capable of much, much more.

It feels as though I haven’t seen a good movie in weeks, so it was nice to finally see a movie that warrants a good review. “In Secret” is certainly not the first time (or last time) we will see an erotic thriller, but it does represent the genre at its best.

My Review: B