In Secrets and Lies we are initially presented with several broken characters, people who have not been truly happy or in a true friendship in a long time. Their relationships are full of secrets, lies, hatred and distrust. Cynthia is introduced to us as a nervous wreck, hated by her daughter and almost everyone she knows, possibly excepting her brother Maurice. Throughout the movie the characters do not change much, but by the end of the movie they have been forced to be much more honest with each other, and there is a suggestion that their relationships with each other are starting to take a turn for the better.
Hortense’s involvement in the story is the starting point of the characters’ self development. Hortense provides Cynthia with more confidence within herself, leading to her decision to be honest with her daughter Jane. Cynthia has only experienced negativity from others towards her for a long time and this new friendship starts to show her that she is capable of having an honest relationship. When she meets Hortense and starts to get to know her, she has a clean slate. She has no secrets from Hortense and she does not want to have any secrets from her. When she sees how happy she is becoming in this friendship, she realises that she needs to be honest with her daughter.
Cynthia does change from when we first see her to when she finally decides to tell Jane about her other daughter, Hortense, but the real changes in her and her relationships are yet to come. Now that she has been so courageous and honest, she has no choice but to change. The new addition of Hortense to the family is a major event in her and her daughter’s life, which forces them to change. While we don’t actually see most of the change which will occur in their lives, the movie ends with a hopeful air, and the suggestion that things will be different from now on, even if the journey is a slow one.
Cynthia is not the only character who changes in Secrets and Lies. While all of the characters have hope for change by the end of the movie, another major decision leading to change was Monica’s decision to reveal that she could not have children. For so long she had been keeping this secret from everyone, out of fear and shame. Her honesty in disclosing this secret will clearly take a huge burden off her back and allow her to find comfort in others, rather than becoming more and more closed to the world and depressed. Her personality is shown as uptight, and she has an attitude of “I can deal with it myself” when obviously she cannot. Her decision to reveal her secret...