Not really a movie or documentary, The Secret is more of a video seminar, a presentation featuring a series of authors, philosophers, doctors, quantum physicists, entrepreneurs, and spiritual practitioners expounding on the powers of The Secret (probably the most well-known of the presenters is Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Success Principles). What is The Secret, exactly? “That principle can be summed up in three simple words: thoughts become things,” proclaims writer Mike Dooley, author of Notes from the Universe. Put it another way, it’s The Power of Positive Thinking and how it can be applied to attracting more money, better health, and relationships; in short, happiness. (There is a rundown of topics on the DVD Chapters menu).
Most of the material here is given in a straightforward manner, with the presenters simply talking into the camera to address the audience directly, which is good because it avoids the trap of pretense. On the other hand, the quick edits between presenters (would it hurt to let them say more than one sentence at a time?) don’t help because it reduces many of their points to palatable sound bites and aphorisms. To many viewers, this may make the program come across as a series of nice ideas not rooted in reality. Plus it’s somewhat spurious to claim that The Secret was well understood and practiced by specific individuals like Plato or Shakespeare (it’s well known that some of the historical figures noted didn’t exactly live happy or even prosperous lives, despite their achievements). But still, the primary message is one of positivity and hope for everyone. So what to make of it? In the end, programs like this generally find an audience that is open to the message, and many will probably find it to be a source of inspiration. Others will approach it with a good deal of skepticism or dismiss it as another way of marketing happiness the masses. It simply won’t resonate with everyone, but if it resonates with you, you’re likely to enjoy it and get a lot out of it. Those looking for more on The Secret might want to check out the companion book by Rhonda Byrne. –Daniel Vancini
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