The Secret in their eyes (El secreto de sus ojos)

the-secret-in-their-eyes-posterArgentinian Spanish language romantic mystery from 2009.
Starring: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago
Director: Juan José Campanella
Writers: Eduardo Sacheri, Juan José Campanella
Bechdel test: Fail


Retired police officer Benjamin Esposito decides to write a book about a case from early in his career that still bugs him. He contacts his former boss Irene Hastings to get her input on how he writes and his recollections of the case.


One part of this story takes place in Argentine during the 70’s and we get a glimpse of several things that I associate with the country, like football, coffee, Isabel Peron and the dirty war.

We also get a little look at some things that I didn’t know about Argentina, like how all buildings seems to consist of a mess of rooms put together in unexpected ways. That might just be how this film reveals the space around characters, but it might also be how houses are built there. I haven’t been, so it would just be a guess, either way.

There also seems to be an unfamiliar way of organizing the employees of the justice department. Some are judges and some are police officers, without any familiar division between the two.


The story is in two parts; a modern tale of an aging police man trying to write a book about a case from early in his career, and the crime story from the 70’s he is writing.

First we meet the writer, Benjamin, as he attempts to begin his book, and he doesn’t seem to quite know where to begin, so we get bits and pieces of the older story as he tests multiple beginnings. He then meets with his former boss, Irene, to tell her that he is working on the book. She tells him to begin with the part that he remembers the best. After that we get the the rest of the old case story mostly in a linear fashion. This was an ingenious storytelling device, we get important parts of the story presented right away and we get to know our storyteller by what is most important to him. And it helped keep up the tension in this whodunit. It isn’t too often I am unfamiliar with the way a story is told, but this was a good surprise.

The acting is good, if a little exaggerated in a few scenes. The two main characters are specially well portrayed.

The imagery of what people look at and how, referenced in the title, could have been made cheap and turned the movie into a mimicry of a soap opera, but is done just simply and subtly enough to ring true.

The audio and visuals reflect the two times we see in the movie and accentuated the storytelling well.


I enjoyed this murder mystery and how it casts a light on some sides of the human condition; maybe mostly love in this case.


I would recommend this movie to anyone adult. A good and romantic whodunit is nice entertainment for an evening. It could, in spite of the murder case, be a date movie, if both enjoy a crime story, that is.

Over to you

If you’ve recently seen “The secret in their eyes” or you’re watching along with my year of movies, please leave a comment below with your thoughts on the movie or note down your opinion somewhere else.

40 movies down. 325 to go.

If you want to get “The secret in their eyes” from Amazon, here is a link for that. They probably have the movie many other places too. Maybe it’s on a streaming service you subscribe to already?

Tomorrow’s movie is “Selma“. Get some more information about this movie and the other movies on my watch list this week on the upcoming movies page. If you’re new to this site and are wondering why I’m watching a movie every day for a year, read more about my experiment.

Until next time; live long and prosper.