'In Secret' with an excellent Elizabeth Olsen

Elizabeth Olsen is excellent as an unhappy wife in the period drama "In Secret," adapted from Émile Zola's 1867 novel "Thérèse Raquin."
Elizabeth Olsen is excellent as an unhappy wife in the period drama "In Secret," adapted from Émile Zola's 1867 novel "Thérèse Raquin." (Lionsgate)
Posted: May 17, 2014

Known for years merely for being Mary-Kate and Ashley's younger sister, Elizabeth Olsen, 25, has stepped out of the Olsen twins' shadow over the last couple of years and carved out a promising career as a serious actor.

Her 2011 feature debut, Martha Marcy May Marlene, was met with overwhelming critical approval, with some singling her out as one of her generation's best thespians.

Olsen has consistently shown she's a daring performer with an adventurous taste in projects. She has done a few rom-coms and even has a pair of terrifying thrillers under her belt, Silent House and Red Lights. Now she assays her first period costume drama in In Secret, which is due Tuesday from Lionsgate.

Adapted from Émile Zola's masterful 1867 melodrama Thérèse Raquin, the film features Olsen as an orphaned country girl raised by her aunt (Jessica Lange) and forced to marry her sickly cousin (Tom Felton). When the family moves to Paris, Thérèse embarks on an illicit affair with an artist (Matt Lucas) and the two begin plotting how to get rid of Thérèse's husband and mother-in-law.

In Secret is one of those films you might not pay to see at the theater - it received mixed reviews - but it's definitely worth a look, if only for Olsen's assured performance.

( www.lionsgateshop.com; $26.98; rated R)

Other titles of note

Arthur Hailey's "The Moneychangers." Arthur Hailey, whose novel Airport inspired the four-film Airport franchise, explores New York's financial world in his 1975 story about a bank loosely based on Bank of America. When the CEO retires, a fierce competition breaks out between two executives, one a liberal humanist with a social conscience and the other a cutthroat capitalist who sees money and power as life's only worthy goals. Due on DVD on Tuesday, this lavish, sophisticated five-hour TV mini-series from 1976 stars Kirk Douglas and Christopher Plummer as the two execs. They are ably backed up by Anne Baxter, Ralph Bellamy, Joan Collins, Susan Flannery, and Timothy Bottoms. ( www.paramount.com/movies/home-media; $19.99; not rated)

Ace in the Hole. Can't get enough of Kirk Douglas? He gives a brilliant turn as a journalist in this searing 1951 film noir from Sunset Boulevard auteur Billy Wilder. The story, about a cynical reporter who'll sell his soul to the devil for a big scoop, is a powerful critique of life in modern America. ( www.criterion.com; $39.95 DVD/Blu-ray Combo pack; not rated)

Longmire: Season 2. Aussie star Robert Taylor returns as Walt Longmire, Wyoming's hottest cowboy sheriff, in 13 new episodes co-starring Katee Sackhoff as a Philly-born cop transplanted to rural America. ( www.wbshop.com; $39.98; not rated)

(Wait until May 27, and you can pick up a Blu-ray set containing both seasons for $59.99.)

Warehouse 13: Complete Series. Syfy this year wrapped up its delightful science-fiction drama about a group of oddballs who oversee a massive warehouse filled with dangerous and magical objects. Due Tuesday, this 16-disc boxed set includes all five seasons. ( www.universalstudiosentertainment.com; $199.98; not rated)

Afterlife: Season 1. Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead's British star, gives a brilliant performance as a psychology professor who teams up with a psychic medium in this well-written, creepy supernatural drama from 2005. Each episode has the heroes face down a different ghost. Some eps are melancholy - others are horrific. ( http://shop.bbc.com; $24.98; not rated)


Most titles also available for digital download from major retailers.

tirdad@phillynews.com

215-854-2736

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