We gave it a B-
Can a single scene save a movie? An hour and 20 minutes into The Secret Life of Words, Sarah Polley delivers a halting, evocative 10-minute monologue that finally unlocks the mystery behind her guarded character, a deaf, indeterminately accented nurse caring for a burn victim (Tim Robbins) on a deep-sea oil rig. Polley is mesmerizing as she raises the movie’s stakes, but it comes too late. The sequence is the only highlight of an opaque film that waits too long to tell us why we should care.