Separate Lies

Rated R 2005

Lies beget lies and a seemingly perfect life unravels in the blink of an eye when a hit-and-run accident disrupts the lives of a wealthy British couple. James and Anne Manning (Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson) -- he a respected solicitor, she a devoted housewife -- learn that their housekeeper's husband was run over while riding his bicycle. James suspects the next-door neighbor, an arrogant cad who believes that his privileged social position protects him from prosecution; after all, the dead man was working class. James is stunned to find that Anne agrees, and finds his whole life turned upside down as he must reexamine his priorities, his moral precepts, and his marriage. The directorial debut of screenwriter Julian Fellowes, Separate Lies may work better in England, because the film's underlying theme of class distinction is so ingrained in British society. Otherwise, some of the plot developments and character reactions border on ludicrous. Watson and Wilkinson, however, are always a pleasure to watch.

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