92 Minutes




Aka Si j'etais toi

Synopsis: A mother, Hannah, is fatally injured in a car accident and her spirit migrates into the body of her unconscious daughter Samantha when Hannah dies on a gurney next to her. Hannah resolves to keep her daughter's life running smoothly in preparation for her potential return. Hannah, living in her daughter Samantha's body, endeavors to keep up an emotional relationship with the father, Ben, through Samantha, which sometimes veers perilously close to becoming physical, to mutual horror. Her experience helps her to learn a lot about the previously unknown (to her) life her daughter was living and helps her to see how harrowing a teen's life can be in these times, as she struggles to walk the tightrope many teens must negotiate. She's confronted by conflicting pulls between the alluring attractions adolescents face every day and the demands of schoolwork that she finds largely unfamiliar to her, since a couple of decades have passed since her own graduation. As she discovers, Samantha's life has been a challenge to meet her parents' expectations for academic excellence and behavior in an acceptable range, all the while being overwhelmed by the hormones of adolescence, in many ways more powerful than any of the drugs the kids experiment with. It is at times difficult for her to keep that grip, but for Ben, the possessiveness he feels toward his wife's soul in his daughter's body threatens to completely overwhelm his life as well as hers, with nearly disastrous results.


Production Notes:

Filming took place in Montreal from April 4 to July 8, 2005.


Film critic Andrew L. Urban:
David Duchovny, something of a specialist in roles involving the paranormal and supernatural, delivers a well-judged characterisation of Benjamin, father and husband faced with the inconvenient truth of his daughter's body inhabited by his dead wife's persona. Olivia Thrilby is equally excellent as the daughter, having to suggest her mother's presence in spirit, as it were.

The Secret is a ghost story with all sorts of Freudian overtones, but adroitly handled by Swiss actor turned director Vincent Perez directing his second feature (after the well-received Once Upon An Angel, 2002). Ann Cherkis' screenplay is more intelligent than most such scripts, and builds near-credible explanations for the phenomenon. And at its essence, it's a romantic love story - as reflected in Nathaniel Mechaly's melancholy score. There is also some bleak humour in the situation, as when Hannah, in Sam's teenage body, goes back to school to maintain Sam's life for her in the hope that she will one day return to 'normal'.

Unlike the superficial fun of say, Freaky Friday, The Secret takes the matter seriously and explores it as a genuine problem for the characters. This lends some gravitas to the tone, but without overtaxing the fantasy. The film's resolution is unexpectedly moving and fully satisfying.





Olivia Thirlby.....Samantha Marris
David Duchovny.....Dr. Benjamin MarrisLili Taylor.....Hannah Marris



Directed by.....Vincent Perez

Screenplay by.....Ann Cherkis

Based on Hiroshi Saito‘s original 1999 Japanese film, “Himitsu” and the novel by Keigo Higashino

 novel by Keigo Higashino

Cinematography by.....Paul Sarossy

Music by.....Nathaniel Méchaly



Premiered in France: October 10, 2007

DVD release: August 12, 2008


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