Cybill Shepherd in Telling Secrets (1993)

Murder Most Torrid

When Stacey Eckhart (Denise Gentile) is murdered in her bedroom with her young daughter asleep in the next room the police lead by Det. Jay Jensen (Ken Olin) have plenty of suspects from her lover Terry (Christopher McDonald) to Terry's estranged wife Faith (Cybill Shepherd - The Lady Vanishes) and her controlling father Walter (G.D. Spradlin). But their investigation draws a blank despite Jensen's dogged determination to solve the case despite it affecting his marriage. But that all changes when Shelley Jefferson Carp (Mary Kay Place) comes forward and tells Jensen that her sister Faith is behind the murders. But proving her connection is easier said than done.

"Telling Secrets" starts with one of those on screen messages which basically tells us that whilst fictionalized it is based on a true story, the true story is that of Joy Aylor. Now I enjoy true story movies, especially crime movies and have watched a few but unfortunately whilst the true story on which "Telling Secrets" is based seems interesting this movie has issues. The most notable of these is that 171 minutes it is one drawn out movie delivering nothing more than what you would find in your typical 90 minute made for TV movie. It not only makes it slow going but it also ends up making it seem exceedingly convoluted as subplots are paid inordinate amounts of attention.

Ken Olin in Telling Secrets (1993)

That is the next issue with "Telling Secrets" as whilst from the opening it makes things pretty obvious as the opening scene starts at a certain time before jumping back a few years it does end up feeling convoluted. We have a murder and we see who is involved, we then have numerous suspects, we have a joking confession, we have a cop's strained marriage as well as a controlling father who is mean to his wife. All of these things may have been born from the true story but with them getting more time than normal they just end up making it a messy movie which lacks control to keep those which are unimportant down to a minimum. It's not that it is hard to follow either because it makes it so obvious but it becomes tiresome because it goes around the houses in order to fill out those 171 minutes.

Then we have the acting and whilst it features a cast of likeable actors I think that every single one of them over acted in more scenes than needed making it all seem forced. The upshot of this is that we certainly have an array of characters from the arrogant Walter to the devious Faith who comes across initially as all Martha Stewart but they don't come across as real.

What this all boils down to is that "Telling Secrets" could have been a good movie if it had been kept down to a more realistic running time rather than trying to fill 171 minutes and feeling drawn out for doing so.