“¿Como hizo para aprender a vivir sin ella?”
The words are spoken by a sad man to a man whose wife was raped and murdered.
Their circumstances could not be more different. The former can end his dilemma by speaking up, by going against the social codes of his society and declaring his love for somebody far above his station; the latter rues his dead wife every single day, struggling to remember her as years go by, confusing memories with memories of memories.
What binds them together is the heart.
It is heart what El Secreto de sus Ojos overflows with. More than any film I can remember, from opening frame to closing shot, the movie works like a novel. There is narration, but not the lazy one that plays over an array of images; the narration here is description for the novel within the movie, but its elegance augments the movie itself, since the themes between the novel and the events the characters live through are one and the same.
There are twists to the plot, but not cheapening ones or shocking for shock’s sake. In a way, the conclusion to the story feels so natural that the twist might not even be considered a twist at all, but a logical conclusion to the tragedy that has spanned 25 years and played out in 2 hours.
There is love. Some moments brim with tenderness, while others burst with the sorrow of heartbreak, and it all feels so real.
A scene set at a train station in which Benjamin (Ricardo Darin) and Irene (Soledad Villamil) make the decision that will dictate the next two decades of their lives is so captivating and melancholic that you wish the screenwriter wrote every single movie, just so you can keep losing yourself in the lives of similar characters.