Metro Review of Secret Life


...But what catches you off balance is the casting of Matthew Macfadyen as Charlie. That's right, the same Matthew Macfadyen whose boyish charms sparked up Spooks and made Keira Knightley's heart flutter as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice. It's a daring piece of casting that not only fulfils the intention of scuppering the demonised stereotype of the paedophile but also reveals Macfadyen, who turns in an entirely convincing performance, as an actor of unexpected range.

It's a brave performer who plays so defiantly against type but Macfadyen is reticent in accepting praise. 'I'm not interested in looking after my image,' he says. 'I suppose there might be a hostile reaction to the film because it's such an emotive subject. But it's not my job to worry about that.'

Macfadyen is also well prepared to fend off criticism that he plays Charlie as a sympathetic character. 'The only thing that's sympathetic about him is his perseverance in trying not to re-offend. That's the threat that hangs in the air the whole time.'


Macfadyen, who is a father of three – two children with actress wife Keeley Hawes and stepfather to a child from her previous marriage – plays down the suggestion that having children of his own made playing Charlie even more of a challenge. 'It's a job. You film it and then go home and get on with life. But there's a scene where Charlie is in the fairground, trying to pick up young girls. I found that horrible.'