The Secret Life of Words

Film is an international language. In this much-lauded drama, we have a Spanish writer, a Canadian actress playing a refugee from the Balkans, a Danish location, a British actress playing a Danish counselor, a Spanish director, an American actor, and depictions of human suffering and grace which are universal.

Sarah Polley ("Slings and Arrows" and "Don't Come Knocking") is an almost-mute factory worker in Denmark. Her boss finally insists she take some time off, as she has never been sick, late, or absent, and her co-workers have started to complain. He sends her off for a month in sunny Spain. When she arrives she overhears a conversation in which a man says he needs to find a nurse for a few weeks who can care for a badly injured worker on an oil rig just off the coast. She volunteers and our story begins.

Tim Robbins ("The Lucky Ones" and "City of Ember") is her patient, who attempts to be witty despite his pain, and hits a dead end because she just isn't very chatty. Undaunted, he provides her with a fictitious name and a physical description so he can imagine her as he chats with her (his eyes have been damaged in the accident and he is temporarily blinded).

We watch their relationship evolve and we also become acquainted with other workers on the oil rig. I was struck once again with what a brilliant actress Sarah Polley can be. My thanks to one of our JayFlix folks for recommending this 2005 movie so I could check it out of the Seattle library. I hope you can find it, too...