By Jess Fenton
1st June 2021

Based on the 2016 Italian film 'Perfetti Sconoscuti', four lifelong male friends and their partners gather for dinner on the night of a solar eclipse. When one of the gentlemen suggests that all the men know everything there is to know about each other and that they don't have any secrets, the hostess decides that's a theory worth putting to the test and suggests a game. All party members must place their unlocked phones face up in the middle of the table. If a text comes in, they must read it aloud. If a phone call comes in, it must be answered on speakerphone. After some convincing, all guests agree. Let the games begin!

'The Perfect Secret' has all the hallmarks of a great, almost farcical comedy. The banter between friends, the in-jokes, the passive aggression, the subtle yet harmless rivalry between the women in these men's lives. Your natural and cliché secrets come out - jealousy, infidelity (of varying degrees), resentment - been there, done that. And of course, there's the closeted character - which is once again clichéd, but for a person nearing 40? Surrounded by their nearest and dearest? In 2021? Same-sex marriage has been legal in Germany since 2017. This is not a backwards country. Homosexuality is not a taboo subject. Everyone expresses and handles their sexuality differently and personally, but to put it on the big screen like this seems...outdated? Old-fashioned? Reserved only now for teenage rom-coms when it's more about discovering who you are, and who you are just happens to be queer. As same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Italy, this story makes more sense in its original iteration, but once you adapt it to your language and culture, this is where you need to step in and adapt it to your language and culture.


While I did enjoy 'The Perfect Secret' a lot - the cast is terrific, it's chic, and the human dynamic is great - I just felt that I'd seen it all before. I wanted this film to be more, to be better, to have a different edge. And because it didn't, I felt myself repeating "my god, that apartment is stunning" instead of focusing on what was going on... because I knew what was going on, and what was going to happen. Am I psychic? Nope. I've just seen a lot of movies and I know how uninspired storytelling works. Ouch, but true.

...this is where you need to step in and adapt it to your language and culture.

I can definitely see why 'The Perfect Secret' was such a beloved film when it was released in Germany in 2019, but time and experience has not been kind to this one, especially for the seasoned yarn seeker.

Looking for more German Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
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