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Movie Review

Summer is full of loud, busy, soulless distractions. And that’s just at the movies. So it’s an unexpected pleasure to encounter a sweet family film like Little Secrets, an adolescent morality tale about friendship, integrity and how hiding brokenness hinders healing.

Like Lucy doling out psychiatric help to Charlie Brown, a gifted, 14-year-old violinist named Emily (Wood) offers a service to the children of her upscale neighborhood. She keeps secrets. She stores broken items (the evidence of childish irresponsibility). For fifty cents, her young clients ease their consciences and get advice on topics ranging from petty theft to Internet dating. But deceptions leave messes. She’s faced with ethical dilemmas. Meanwhile, Emily’s own deeply guarded secrets threaten to boil over as she deals with the stress of a new baby entering the family.

"You can’t keep secrets about yourself and lead a true life," a trusted music teacher tells Emily, "and you shouldn’t encourage others to do the same." So she takes bold steps to set kids straight. And confession proves to be good for the soul. The film also makes solid statements about loyalty, family relationships, forgiveness and the consequences of driving drunk. Except for a mild crudity or two, there are no unpleasant surprises.

In limited release nationwide, Little Secrets is a little movie with a big heart. There’s no A-list talent, but the performances are sincere and enjoyable (especially Angarano and the tots cast as Emily’s clients). Technically, it has the feel of a WB after-school special. If only the network’s teen-oriented fare was this positive.

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Evan Rachel Wood, David Gallagher, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Angarano





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Bob Smithouser

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