The Secret Life of Words ~ (Spain, 2005) ~ Netflix Stream

After watching Isabel Coixet’s Map pf the Sounds of Tokyo, I wanted to view another of her films. In this one, the great Sarah Polley plays a damaged and very lonely factory worker. When her boss practically forces her to take a vacation, she does so, but then volunteers to care for a burn victim on an oil rig (Tim Robbins). Turns out she was a nurse in her former life, and we realize how little we, or anyone else of her acquaintance, knows of her.

Robbins’ character (Josef) has been temporarily blinded by the accident (Polley’s character is hard of hearing and wears a hearing aid). Hannah slowly opens up to Josef and they develop a bond. She decides that he needs to be evacuated to a mainland hospital, as he has developed a serious fever. When he is recovered, he searches for her and…..

Hannah’s story, which she tells Josef while still on the rig, is of kidnap, rape and torture in her Bosnian homeland during the war. The film is ok, and both Robbins and Polley are fine. There is one raw and emotional scene, where Hannah tells Josef the story of the terrible incident which has obviously scarred her emotionally (and physically as we find out). Polley is simply great in this scene. Worth a look just for that.


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