Skip to main content

Movie Review: "Secret Obsession"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Here is my spoiler-free review of Secret Obsession. See if it's worth streaming on Netflix. (Netflix Release: 7/18/2019)

Here is my spoiler-free review of Secret Obsession. See if it's worth streaming on Netflix. (Netflix Release: 7/18/2019)

Secret Obsession: Memory Loss

Jennifer Williams (Brenda Song) was in a terrible accident. She woke up in the hospital with severe injuries, with total memory loss and without the ability to walk. Her inability to walk is only temporary, but the doctors are less certain about her memory. Fortunately, Jennifer has her husband—Russell (Mike Vogel)—who has been devotedly by her side since the minute she woke up.

Russell told her who she was, he told her about their marriage, he told her about her parents, and he took her back to the large, remote home they share together. Jennifer does not remember anything; nothing is familiar, and it has become clear that the accident has made her a stranger in her own life. While Russell has been by her side to help her through it, Jennifer begins to suspect that their life together may not have been as perfect as Russell would like her to believe. Maybe she is just paranoid and everything she has been told is true, but Jennifer suspects that there is a lot that she is not being told.

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Brenda Song (+4pts)

Predictable (-8pts)

The Premise (+3pts)

Assumptions (-5pts)

The Mystery & The Suspense (+4pts)

Mike Vogel (-6pts)


Pro: Brenda Song (+4pts)

Brenda Song was convincing enough in this role. This was a thriller in which the main character—her character—had no idea who she was, nor did she have any recollection of her life before her recent accident. Brenda Song had to play her character in a way that made you buy that she had no idea who she was, but she also had to sell the thriller aspect of her character’s story. I am not saying that no actress could have done this—there are actually plenty of actresses who could have—but this character clearly came with its challenges, and I thought Brenda Song played it convincingly.


Con: Predictable (-8pts)

Even if the trailer did not give this entire movie away, the way this movie began ended up doing exactly that. The filmmakers hid a certain element of the opening scene from the viewer to try to keep something a secret, but if you have ever seen a thriller before, then it will be obvious as to where the filmmakers were going with this story. Predictable movies are somewhat forgivable if you are watching a comedy, action, horror, or any genre that does not rely on having an unpredictable plot. This movie, however, was a predictable thriller—a genre in which being unpredictable is the whole point.

By showing what they did in the beginning of the movie, they told us that Jennifer was involved in something much more than an “accident”. This meant that we, the viewers, would know that something was up. There were also too few potential suspects, and it was obvious that the filmmakers would make it someone that we had seen before, which gave the whole thing away. On paper, the premise of this movie could have worked, but the filmmakers executed it really poorly, and they made this movie about as predictable as predictable movies come.


Pro: The Premise (+3pts)

I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of bringing the premise to the screen effectively, but I thought the premise was an interesting one that I really wanted to see play out. A woman got in an accident, and she had no one other than her husband to rely on, but her husband may have been the greatest threat to her. If done right, the filmmakers could have used Jennifer’s memory loss to masterfully play with the mystery and suspense of this story. There was real potential here, and there were some moments in which that premise was still able to shine through. Unfortunately, the strong premise did not help this movie much, because the filmmakers almost completely dropped the ball with it.


Con: Assumptions (-5pts)

In order for this entire movie to happen, the antagonist had to make a ton of wild assumptions. They had to count on things happening in very specific ways, and there was no reason for them to possibly have assumed that things would go so well for them. Nonetheless, that was exactly what the antagonist planned for, and it was ridiculous that the whole thing went as conveniently as it did for them. I do not want to give it away—in the event that you choose to watch the movie after this raving review—but know that after the mystery was finally revealed, it poked massive holes in the plot, which all seemed to stem from it making no sense for the antagonist to have known things would turn out the way that they did.


Pro: The Mystery & The Suspense (+4pts)

I know I am starting to sound redundant here, but the plot of this movie sort of ruined the premise. Viewers will know the identity of who was responsible pretty quickly, but what was unclear was how they pulled it off, what their intentions were, or why. In that sense, the movie still had some mystery, which I was interested in seeing revealed. The questions I had gave the movie some amount of suspense. Even though I knew who the antagonist was, not knowing their intentions made them feel unpredictable and dangerous, as it was unclear how much danger Jennifer was in. Was the remaining mystery and suspense enough to save this movie? No, but it had me interested enough to make it deserving of at least some credit.


Con: Mike Vogel (-6pts)

The performance from Mike Vogel gave his character away almost as soon as we met him. The plot of this movie—and definitely the trailer—will make you pretty certain who the antagonist is before you even meet him. You will have a pretty good guess, but you will not be one hundred percent certain. Then Mike Vogel showed up on screen and any doubt regarding who the antagonist was will vanish.

Maybe this was all the fault of Mike Vogel, or perhaps he did exactly what the director wanted from him, but it does not really matter, does it? The result was a performance so blatant that it gave away the identity of the antagonist in a movie in which the whole mystery was about figuring out exactly that. Did the movie end with him as the antagonist, or was it all just a misdirect? I am not going to answer that here, but know that he either was the antagonist and the filmmakers gave it away almost immediately, or the entire movie blatantly pointed at one thing only to make a lazy, unjustified switch at the end. Neither of those two options would make for an interesting mystery.

Grading Scale






























Grade: D+ (67pts)

I thought the filmmakers had a good premise here. The movie was about a woman who got in an accident and woke up with amnesia. She had no memory of who she was or what her life was like before the accident, but she learned that she had a husband who was supportive, who told her whatever he could of her past, and who was at her side to help her through it all. Then she began to doubt whether everything she had been told was true, and she began to suspect that her husband may have been hiding something. It was a premise that could have made for a really effective thriller, but the filmmakers did a poor job of bringing that premise to the screen.

Fortunately, Brenda Song delivered a convincing performance in the lead role, and the movie left a number of questions unanswered until the end of the movie—which helped build a mystery and suspense. However, there was one part of this story that was made really obvious way too early in the movie. The identity of the antagonist was the whole point of the movie, and the filmmakers ruined it almost immediately—that or it was a lazy misdirect, but either way it removed all of my interest in that part of the mystery. This movie had potential, and it had some strengths, but I thought the filmmakers really dropped the ball with it anyway.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


Movie Beasts (author) from MA on February 13, 2020:

Liza, thank you for the comment!

No, I have not seen Locke and Key yet, but I just noticed it in my suggestions last night. Have you seen it yet, and is it any good?

Liza from USA on February 13, 2020:

I watched the show last year on Netflix. I thought it was okay. It was easy to predict what's going to happen. Your review of the movie was pretty awesome! Hey, have you watched Locke and Key on Netflix?

Movie Beasts (author) from MA on January 20, 2020:

Yeah, I definitely thought it was an interesting idea that had potential, but I thought the filmmakers did a poor job of bringing that idea to the screen.

Thanks for the comment, though!

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on January 20, 2020:

I remember watching this a few months ago and found it quite interesting.