Movie Secrets and Lies There Essay

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She eventually does however, and this particular episode merely shows the types of problems that families have with one another. It functions as a piece of foreshadowing since it occurs in the beginning of the film. While the aforementioned couple argues about whether or not the husband looks better with his glasses on or off, or why the wife has chosen to hide her crucifix because it is not expensive enough or gold, the viewer is merely given visual clues that the tension, arguments, and problems that have befallen this particular couple is one of the themes in the movie. The couple, therefore, functions as a microcosm of the couples and families in the film, and of the problems that plague them.

Not all of the portraits that Morris is shown taking at the beginning of the film are as argumentative as that of the aforementioned couple. However, the vast majority of them are a study in the differences between people and family members. At the 16:30 minute mark, the film depicts Morris taking a series of photographs. Nearly none of the subject depicted are congruous with their actions and their demeanors. Again, the viewer can consider this scene as a continuation of the others in which Morris is working, because there is the same dark background, and the same stark prominence of the subjects placed front and center in the camera. In this particular group of shots, however, the differences between the family members is readily accented with the burst of light of Morris taking the picture -- which is frequently accompanied by a joke on his part in which, of three pairs depicted, one of the people fails to smile. This distinction is all the more heightened by the fact that in most of these pairs, the other person is smiling egregiously. The highlight of the flash of light behind the people (which coincides with Morris' best efforts to make them both smile) simply reinforces the notion that there are inherent differences in families.

Part of the dialogue reinforces this fact as well, because in virtually all of these portraits Morris uses the same 'line' or joke about it is acceptable for the subjects to smile. Yet routinely, only one of the pair does. This fact is most discernible to the viewer with one pair in particular which is a study in opposition. There is an older woman sitting, who is the mother of an extremely tall lady standing with her hands placed on the older woman's shoulders. The tall woman smiles nicely at Morris' words, whereas the mother's face does not flinch from a serious pose. When the daughter asks the mother if she smiled the mother stubbornly states that she did not. This portrait in particular shows that families and their actions are not always aligned with each other. Although on a literal level this scene merely shows them taking a portrait in different ways, figuratively it alludes to the pronounced and profound differences between family members -- which plagues the main cast of characters throughout the duration of the film -- and the problems that such differences cause. The simplicity of the visual elements in this particular scene, when Morris is at work, helps to emphasize the thematic nature of the interaction between the families. There are not a lot of different camera angles or lighting techniques to distract the viewer. Instead, they get a simple close-up highlighted by a few flashes of light as Morris takes the picture, to demonstrate the fact that there are differences and problems between families.

Overall, these two scenes help to verify the fact that the principle motif tying together many of the thematic elements within "Secrets and Lies" is the fact that there are problems and differences in families. The scene in which Roxanne shoves her mother and runs to go and do exactly what her mother was warning her about shows a very pronounced difference between what Cynthia wants and what Roxanne wants. Cynthia is simply lonely, and cannot get a true sense of family and companionship from her own daughter. The early scenes in which Morris is photographing different family members also suggests that distinctions between family members will play a principle role in the plot of this film. The bickering between couples, as well as the opposite forms of expression for those who are getting their portrait taken simply alludes to the larger differences between the family members of the main characters in the movie.


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