Use of Mise en Scene in Secrets and Lies by Mike Leigh Essay

Use of Mise en Scene in Secrets and Lies by Mike Leigh Essay

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Use of Mise en Scene in Secrets and Lies by Mike Leigh

As the narrative unfolds in Mike Leigh’s ‘Secrets And Lies’ we reach

dramatic climax of the film, the barbeque scene. This has significance
to the title of the film, ‘Secrets and Lies’ as all the hidden
secrets, such as Monica’s inability to

have children, and Cynthia’s secret daughter, Hortense are revealed to
their families.

In the opening sequence the first view of Monica is one of her
hovering and stencilling with aggression, connoting to the audience
her obsessive nature and how she wrongly prioritises materialistic
things to disguise the fact she is incapable to conceive.

The opening shot of the barbeque scene is of Monica preparing the
table, which heightens the view that she is overly concerned with
appearance. Typically of Monica it is

perfectly laid out however it is telling that the chairs are
mismatching which connotes she is not used

to having family gatherings or certainly not Maurices family. The mise

en scene of Monica’s trophy house conveys Monica’s misplaced values,
the living room is all shades of subtle greens with pretty

matching floral patterns on the lampshade, sofa and wallpaper

which are obviously Monica’s creations. However although the house is

spotless there is no homeliness or warmth to it which suggests her
unhappiness and

emptiness is being disguised by a Laura Ashley inspired façade,
Monica’s energy has been soley directed at the house to fill the

vacuum in her life resulting from her inability to have children.

When Cynthia arrives at Monica’s and Maurice’s house her body language
looks up at the hou...

... middle of paper ...

...s shift bringing the family
closer together and

leading to Monica crying in Cynthia’s arms, Leigh delivers the message
to the

audience that honesty is an important element of a strong relationship
and without it

the relationship will fall apart, ‘why can’t you tell them… im sorry
but its almost

destroying our relationship’. Leigh’s message is portrayed thought
Maurice’s speech

‘Why can’t we share our pain’.

One of the central theme to the film is family relationships and

however could initially be thought to be a film on racial issues when
Hortense is

mistaken to be a Jehovah’s witness by Monica, The ending scene is
gloomy and the

atmosphere is ominous, however it is strangely inspiring and we are
left with a feeling

of hope and a sense of optimism for the family.

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