A Secret Love

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A Secret Love
A Secret Love poster.jpg
Official poster
Directed byChris Bolan
Written by
  • Chris Bolan
  • Alexa L. Fogel
  • Brendan Mason
Produced by
CinematographyStephen Kazmierski
Edited byBernadine Colish
Music byDuncan Thum
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • April 29, 2020 (2020-04-29) (United States)
Running time
83 minutes
CountryUnited States

A Secret Love is an 2020 American documentary film, directed by Chris Bolan. Ryan Murphy serves as a producer on the film, while Jason Blum serves as an executive producer under his Blumhouse Productions banner. It stars Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel. It was released on April 29, 2020, by Netflix.


A former All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player, Terry Donahue, and her partner, Pat Henschel, ran a successful interior decorating business while keeping their lesbian relationship a secret from their families for almost seven decades.



Chris Bolan, the director of the film, took a trip to visit his two great aunts, Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel. They told Bolan about their life together and after hearing it Bolan decided to tell their story via a documentary film.[1]


The film was scheduled to have its world premiere at South by Southwest in March 2020; however, the festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[2][3][4] It was released on April 29, 2020.[5]


On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 100% based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "In telling one couple's story, A Secret Love pays understated yet powerful tribute to a lifetime of choices and sacrifices made in the name of enduring devotion."[6] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 77 out of 100, based on 12 critic reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7]

Stephanie Zacharek of Time wrote that the film is "heartfelt."[8] Robyn Bahr of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that A Secret Love is "tender without being cloying, naturalistic without seeming contrived."[9]

Shannon Keating of Buzzfeed was critical of the film, writing of "the subtle but insidious homophobia baked into this very telling of their story."[10]


  1. ^ Aziz, Neha (February 3, 2020). "Get to Know the Women Behind Chris Bolan's Documentary A Secret Love – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus". SXSW. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  2. ^ Ray-Ramos, Dino (January 15, 2020). "SXSW Sets Judd Apatow's 'The King Of Staten Island' As Opening-Night Film, Unveils Features And Episodics Lineups". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Low, Elaine (March 4, 2020). "Netflix Cancels SXSW 2020 Screenings, Panels Amid Coronavirus Fears (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "A Secret Love". South by Southwest. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  5. ^ Trumbore, Dave (April 22, 2020). "'A Secret Love' Trailer Documents a Forbidden Romance 65 Years in the Making". Collider. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  6. ^ "A Secret Love (2020)", Rotten Tomatoes, Fandango, retrieved October 10, 2021
  7. ^ "A Secret Love", Metacritic, retrieved 2020-06-27
  8. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (April 30, 2020). "A Secret Love Is a Bittersweet Celebration of Two Women's Six-Decade Romance". Time. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  9. ^ Bahr, Robyn (April 28, 2020). "'A Secret Love': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 8, 2020.
  10. ^ Keating, Shannon (May 7, 2020). "Netflix's New Lesbian Documentary Is A Straight Take On Queer Love". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved May 8, 2020.

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