© Tobis Film GmbH & Co. KG

Das Geheime Leben Der Worte (The Secret Life of Words, La Vida Secreta de las Palabras)
Spain 2005

Opening 27 Apr 2006

Directed by: Isabel Coixet
Writing credits: Isabel Coixet
Principal actors: Sarah Polley, Tim Robbins, Javier Cámara, Eddie Marsan, Steven Mackintosh

Tim Robbins and Sarah Polley give sensational performances in this film, slipping into their characters as they would second skins. The voice of a small child serves as narrator, giving insight into the perpetual sadness that is a part of Hanna’s (Polley) life. The identity of the child is a mystery in itself, one of many throughout the plot line. The opening scene reveals Josef (Robbins) running into the flames of a fire on an oil rig. This first scene is short, giving away very little before cutting to the life of Hanna. Her life is controlled by routine that runs borderline obsessive compulsive, but is obviously therapeutic to her in the fact that she is the one in control of what she does. While taking a vacation forced upon her by her job, she overhears a man on his cell phone in need of a nurse to take care of an injured man on an oil rig. With little hesitation, she introduces herself and takes the job. Josef is temporarily blinded in the accident while also suffering several other injuries that force him to put his life into Hanna’s hands. In several scenes, the camera focuses on the hearing aid that Hanna must wear for everyday life. This is to be one of many complications in the open communication these two must have on a regular basis, him unable to see and she unable to hear most things. Both Josef and Hanna cannot forgive themselves for past events in their lives, a common thread binding these two seemingly incompatible people to one another. This film pushes to the surface the terrible pains people inflict upon one another, both accidentally and purposefully. The acting is superb on all counts, and along with fantastic cinematography, I was able to connect with characters at certain moments in the flim, making it more personal to me as a viewer. Though not light entertainment, this film is heartbreakingly beautiful. A winner of four Goyas, this film is definitely worth seeing. (Kara Wahn)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.