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(Under Construction)  This is incomplete, preliminary information only.
Complete information in line with the other film pages will appear once the film is released.

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Plot Summary
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"There are few stains that a married woman's head-tie cannot disguise..."

The Secret Laughter of Women is a love story set in the south of France.

When the women of a close knit Nigerian community decide that one of their number should remarry it sets Europe and Africa on an unexpected and comical collision course . . .

Nimi (Nia Long) leads a relatively peaceful life amongst the female dominated Nigerian community in a picturesque coastal town in southern France. Life consists of working as a landscape gardener in a small company, looking after her eight year old, excitable son, Sammy (Fissy Roberts) and attending exuberant masses at the First Church of Christ Africa.

Nimi's unmarried status (and son) are frowned upon by her traditionalist neighbours and her bustling mother Nene (Jake Jacobs) is very keen to marry off her wilful daughter confer her [sic] with respectability. When the handsome Reverend Fola (Ariyon Bakare) moves into town and shows interest in Nimi, it is like a godsend for Nene who wastes no time putting her daughter in his path at every opportunity which finally results in the longed-for proposal of marriage.

Nimi's son Sammy however, has other ideas. He has confused Matthew (Colin Firth), the creator of his beloved comic action hero Saracen, with his heroic creation and deems him a much more suitable match than the stuffy, patronising Reverend Fola for his precious mother. He tries at length to persuade Matthew to marry his mother instead, using every means at his disposal to bring the two together.

Against their expectations love blossoms, though Nimi and Matthew are drawn together for very different reasons. Nimi has resigned herself to marriage to the rather unexciting but very respectable Reverend Fola. She is intrigued by Matthew in spite of herself, and feels like she deserves one last fling before settling down into respectability. She is also very aware of Matthew's married status, distrust of women and general unwillingness to commit to a relationship. In contrast, Matthew is drawn to Nimi not just for her beauty but the stability of her African way of life; her sense of community, responsibility, duty, sacrifice and an innate goodness that he has never before encountered and throws him completely off-guard.

Both had underestimated the might of Nimi's no nonsense female protectors: Talking Drum, 40, skinny with her head-tie as tight as the mouth that spreads slander; Nene, 60 and Nimi's guild inducing mother; Mama Rose, 40, luscious in Hot Cincinnati pink lipstick and no holds bright attire; Obokun, 50 and an incorrigible gossip and finally, the powerful Mama Fola, sharp of tongue and disapproving of Nimi's lifestyle. Together they make a formidable adversary and none are predisposed towards Matthew's and Nimi's relationship.

Nimi must fling away her head-tie and stand up to the outspoken women of Rue Bonaparte whilst Matthew must learn to trust again in order for their love to survive.



Nia Long is best known for her role in the box office hit Soul Food.  She has also appeared as Will Smith's fiancee in several episodes of The Fresh Princeof Bel-Air.

Caroline Goodall (Schindler's List) plays Matthew's wife. In an article, she calls Secret Laughter of Women "a sexy, fun film".

Filming began on Monday, September 22, 1997 in Grasse and Antibes.








Rating System

***** Superb/breathtaking/heartstopping/etc
**** Excellent
*** Very pleasing
** Still lovely, but . . .
* Bad hair day

Personal Ratings:

  Colin's looks
  Colin's acting ability
  The film in general
  Ranking in the films of Colin Firth
  Watchability & rewind factor

To come: Friends of Firth "The Secret Laughter of Women" ratings


Back to Main Roles page

Visit the original Friends of Firth website, which now incorporates the Circle of Friends web ring

Visit Murph's website- includes listings for other Firth websites

Visit Lisa's overview of Colin's career & web page

Visit Lisbeth's Colin Firth Timeline

Jane's articles page


This page assembled by Sharon, edited by Janet

It is part of a Firthland project on the films of Colin Firth.

photos - Handmade Films

Special thanks to Murph, Anne, Francoise, for pictures and film information

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