The Secret Life of Words

Genre:  Drama
Running Time:  112 min.
Release Date: August 4, 2006 (limited)

Current rating: Rating: 3.15
based on 99 votes and 5 reviews
Rate Movie | Read all user reviews

Cast: Sarah Polley, Tim Robbins, Javier Cámara, Sverre Anker Ousdal, Steven Mackintosh, Eddie Marsan, Julie Christie


During a vacation – her first in four years – on the coast of Northern Ireland, Hanna (Sarah Polley) inadvertently ends up on an oilrig, nursing Josef (Tim Robbins), a man who’s been severely burned in a rig accident.

His corneas are also affected, rendering him blind for a couple of weeks. Josef is intrigued by the woman he can’t see. Hanna, who wears a hearing aid, talks softly. She’s secretive, often answering his questions with a single word or silence. She’s trained as a nurse. But why has she been working in a factory? She’s got an accent. But where is she from? She makes calls to a woman (Julie Christie). But why does she hang up?

As Josef begins to reveal his own dark past, finally so too does Hanna. And when she does, the horrifying details come gushing out like a floodgate.

Director: Isabel Coixet
Studio: Mongrel Media
Producer(s): Esther Garcia
Screenplay: Isabel Coixet
Official Site:

Photo Gallery view all