Little Secrets (2002)
"I thought people in Utah were supposed to be meek, or whatever?"
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Few movies in recent memory have been as positively gentle as Little Secrets. As sappy as this film gets, it's pretty hard to ignore it's big heart.
The delightful Evan Rachel Wood is extremely likable as a sweet natured fourteen year old with aspirations of becoming a professional violinist. When she's not practicing, she's playing secret keeper to all the young kids in the neighborhood. Of course, this job is not as easy as it sounds, and that becomes painfully clear to Wood as the film progresses.
Shot mostly around Salt Lake City, Little Secrets has very little to object to. The screenplay is heavy handed at times, but the performances are so engaging that I was able to overlook that. Many of the jokes will no doubt appeal to Utah residents, but the themes of family and honesty will ring true to everyone.
As I already stated, Wood is terrific. She's smart but without being over the top. I'm guessing we'll be seeing a lot more of her. In fact, she can currently be seen in Simone. Michael Angarano (Almost Famous) holds his own as Phillip, the young man who develops a crush on Wood. I also liked Jan Gardner as Wood's pregnant mother. I had a chance to chat with this lovely actress (she actually lives here in St. George) and I'm happy to report that she's making quite the name for herself.
It's obvious while watching Little Secrets that director Blair Treu and screenwriter Jessica Barondes drew from childhood experiences to bring this film to the screen, and that sense of innocence really shines through. I found the lack of cynicism in this picture to be quite refreshing.
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