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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

A Secret Love ****

Director: Chris Bolan

Country: USA

Premiering on Netflix, A Secret Love is pretty damn special. A portrait of the seven decade relationship between Pat Henschel and pro baseball player Terry Donahue, we meet them in their senior years as they prepare to leave their home and move north to couple’s native Canada to be closer to family. Taking a look back on their immense journey together, this is a beautiful personal history of LGBT America.

The movie A League Of Their Own depicted the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League of the ‘40s and ‘50s, of which Terry was a part. What it didn’t show was the many same-sex partnerships within the league and the countless lesbians forced to hide in the closet. Despite all the years they spent together, it is only now that Pat and Terry are able to come out of the closet to their nearest and dearest. Having lived together for so long in secret, witnessing them sharing and celebrating their love in public is enough to warm even the hardest of hearts. You will shed tears and it will feel fantastic.

Lovingly crafted by one of Terry’s great-nephews, you can tell just how invested the director is with his subjects, who are tenderly captured and delicately rendered on screen. While their past is depicted through scrapbooked vintage home footage and a plethora of old photos assembled with rose-tinted nostalgia alongside their narration, their present is more staid and observational. The depth of their love is evident in every frame of film, leaving a deeply moving love-conquers-all film for the ages, recording the personal testimony of a generation of LGBT people who are increasingly no longer with us.



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