Secret Storm for Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman

DATELINE: Who Done What?

Despite a terrible title, Secrets in Their Eyes can hold the attention of any mystery fan with its top-drawer star performances.

Aging gracefully for female movie stars is never easy—and to play yourself today and 13 years earlier requires a particular strength of acting. Both Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts are impressive here as a rising district attorney and an anti-terrorist cop.

Kidman remains more glamorous in her public job—and Roberts can go more to seed in her less public job as servants to society. At one point, a character looks at Roberts and notes she looks “a million years old.”  It’s a good estimate.

If you don’t pay close attention to the details of their aging process, you may not know when the flashback scene has begun.

We also liked this movie because it kept violence and sex to the barest minimum and put emphasis on character. In this well-constructed mystery, character is fate—as you might expect.

The unpronounceable Chitwel Ejiofor plays the male lead—an FBI man who returns to the scene of the crime over a decade before –around the frightening times after 9/11. His relationship to the two women becomes intriguing and underplayed.

As an ensemble, the cast provides the chemistry you’d expect from a tightknit group of workers ripped asunder by a hideous crime.

In some ways the solution seems simple, but the forest is always blocking your trees. We almost decided, based on the book cover, that this film was a women’s weeper, but how wrong and sexist we were.