Secrets in Suburbia (2017)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Brianna Brown in Secrets in Suburbia (2017)

Lifetime Does Rashomon

Gloria senses something is wrong in her marriage to Phil but at a party to celebrate a friend's divorce her life long friends; Scarlett, Monica and Kim try to reassure her that she is imagining it. Never the less the next day Gloria tries to persuade Phil that they should go through marriage counselling but he isn't having any of it. A few days later, whilst taking the dog to the vet, Gloria is taken ill at the wheel of her car and crashes ending up in hospital where she not only has a broken leg but the doctors tell her she is suffering kidney failure and needs daily dialysis. But whilst recovering Gloria discovers something about her husband and three friends which makes her a woman scorned and a dangerous one at that.

In 1950 there was a Japanese movie called "Rashomon" which now lends its name to the technique of storytelling where we see the same event told from the perspective of different characters. It is one of the unusual things you will discover in "Secrets in Suburbia" as I can't remember that many made for TV movies which use this storytelling technique. What that means is that "Secrets in Suburbia" is a movie which you need to pay attention to as in each version of events there are clues tossed at you. And I do mean tossed as this is certainly not a very subtle movie and in fact seems to go out of its way to tell you what is going on which robs it of its mystery.

But there is something else which "Secrets in Suburbia" has and that is the sort of soap opera style characters and drama which you will either enjoy or will feel is painful for being so over the top. Let me put it this way we have a group of female characters who I am sure would get their claws out if their backs were against the wall and watching this was like having to listen to their claws dragged down a blackboard. Yes I didn't enjoy the soap opera styling of the drama which made paying attention to the details a lot harder than it should be. In fact whilst the lack of subtlety robs the movie of its mystery there was a decent storyline lurking in here and if this had been made more like a stylish drama it might have been more engaging.

Now it is probably down to the whole soap opera styling that I found myself struggling to warm to a single character. It is a case that whilst they are all typically visually appealing, it is what you expect from this sort of movie, they are forgettable as is the acting which at times feels like some of the actors are struggling to get their tongue out from their cheeks.

What this all boils down to is that maybe if you are a fan of American soaps you will find "Secrets in Suburbia" entertaining as it has a very similar style. But for me it made this hard work which on top of using the Rashomon effect made it often quite painful to watch and difficult to stay interested in.


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