"Do you ever wonder what would have happened if maybe you had found the baby sooner? Maybe you could have saved her. Maybe if you had walked just a little bit faster, she would still be alive. Did you ever think about that?"
"Every Secret Thing" is a meager attempt to create a thriller full of suspense. The inspiration came from a book written by Laura Lippman. Usually a story about missing children makes you feel uncomfortable and tells about the most terrible thing that can happen to you as a parent. However, I would recommend to watch "Prisoners" starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman. In terms of suspense and showing the desperation of the frightened parents, this film transcends effortlessly this shallow attempt. The two teenagers Alice (Danielle Macdonald) and Ronnie (Dakota Fanning) aren't really creepy or frighteningly. On the contrary. You feel sorry for these two misfits who, by circumstances, made a wrong decision when they were young. Even though it turns out that one of them has a morbid, gloomy mind.
At the age of 11, the two young girls decide to take a baby, sitting in an abandoned stroller on a porch, with them (and she's also a granddaughter of the first black judge in the community), after they attended a disastrous birthday party. The two are not exactly popular with kids of the same age. Alice is a chubby girl and Ronnie is an introverted child who also happens to have a sharp tongue. At first it was just a harmless game for those two teenagers. But later on they started to realize they couldn't cope with it and there was no turning back. The total lack of necessary care was fatal for the baby. The two were brought to justice and convicted for kidnapping and murdering a child. You don't need to be a brilliant mind to know who they'll suspect again when another baby disappears in the same community.
I thought this movie failed in several areas. This film is mostly supported by women (several female actors, a female director, a female script writer and writer). This is noticeable since the result is quite soft. Nancy Porter (Elizabeth Banks), a female detective who's like a sort of adult version of Nancy Drew, is motivated enough to solve this mystery. She discovered in a haphazard way the corpse of the first victim and was subsequently promoted. And she's determined to find this baby again. Although I had a feeling as if there was no rush. She looked rather stoical. You can say that Alice's mother does some groundbreaking work as an art teacher, but she fails completely as a parent. Alice was in a certain way kind of creepy. And yet that split personality isn't displayed explicitly. Her sophisticated and manipulative traits were acted outstanding. However, the acting wasn't that convincing at the denouement. In other words, the whole movie lacked some true tension.
The only one who could captivate me with her acting, was Fanning (The last time I saw her acting was in "War of the Worlds" as a very young girl). A superb personage with a complicated character. An introverted girl who's, despite her depressive and alternative appearance, still extremely attractive. For me she was also the only credible character.
Even the strange twists at the end can't avoid this melodramatic thriller ending up at the same level as most average TV movies. The mysterious beginning, the shocking subject and the sometimes superb acting eventually couldn't prevent it to become a clichéd thriller with no real surprises. And the final scene is the most clichéd ending ever made.
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