Secrets of a University (2023 Lifetime)


Secrets of a University (2023 Lifetime)

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Cast: L.A. Sweeney, James Gallanders, Eden Cupid, Liam Lynch

Director: Kara Harun

Writer: Rachel Manson

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Eliza De La Cruz knows what she wants: a high-powered job in academia; to finally go public with her (married) Senator boyfriend James Holbrooke; and to upend the nepotism and inequity in higher education, starting with her new role as Head of Admissions for the illustrious Wilder University. But after Eliza goes against her own morals to admit James’ failing son, Nathan, to a coveted place in Wilder’s most prestigious program, she discovers he plagiarized his entire application. James pressures Eliza to keep it quiet, while Nathan’s girlfriend, Charlotte, also warns Eliza not to cross the Holbrooke family. Wracked by hypocrisy and guilt, Eliza finds herself at odds with the powerful Holbrooke family, Wilder’s old guard, the police, and an anonymous culprit who knows all her secrets and seems to be out for blood. Stars L.A. Sweeney, James Gallanders, Eden Cupid, and Liam Lynch (2023).

Recap/Wine Thoughts.
The movie begins in a senator’s house after a night of drinks. A dead body is on the sidewalk outside the home…

Eliza De La Cruz (the head of admissions for Wilder University) and her boyfriend, Senator James (An alumni of Wilder with an open marriage.), meet up for a secret sexy time. Jame tells Eliza he loves her and gives her pearl earrings to celebrate her first day on the job. He is laying it on thick!

On the first day of the job, Eliza interviews applicants. Her assistant Katie is very thankful to be working at the university AND getting her degree. Katie seems too eager and asks to be in confidential meetings. That meeting doesn’t go great because the men don’t respect Eliza as a leader and giggle the whole time. Eliza folds and goes with the candidate the men want to pick, which turns out to be THE SENETOR’S SON! Raven asks if the selection process was rigged because it is a big coincidence. (She knows about the secret boyfriend.)

Eliza calls Senator James and asks him if he knew his son was in the running for the last admission spot. He apologizes because he didn’t realize the conflict of interest and claims he didn’t intentionally put Eliza into a compromising position.

At the admissions welcome party, Eliza meets Senator James’ family. His wife Cora is supposed to be ok with the secret relationship, but she is shooting daggers at Eliza. Cora introduces Eliza to her son Nathan and his girlfriend, Charlotte. Cora is blunt AF and tells Eliza to use more discretion with her affair, or Cora will make Eliza disappear.

Then Eliza gets a Graduation Card that reads:

“You can do Anything! As Long As Your Daddy Screws the Admissions Whore!”

Touchingly personalized!

Senator James makes up for Cora’s rudeness by inviting Eliza to his house with the security cameras turned off. They drink wine in the study, and Senator James continues to love bomb Eliza. When he steps out to take a call, Eliza gets a threatening email with an attachment of Nathan’s essay and the source he plagiarized it from. Eliza confronts Nathan, and he calls her a slut, basically. (Then he shows her a knife hiding in an ornate box and threatens her because his Senator dad cleans up all his messages.) Charlotte breaks up the tense encounter and warns Eliza that the “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Eliza tells Senator James what happened with Nathan, and he says it was all probably an accident. When Eliza shows Senator James the plagiarized letter, he gets violent and grabs the phone from Eliza’s hand. She rushes out and is done with him. Senator James sends Eliza flowers and tries to apologize, but she isn’t having it.

Katie, the assistant, doesn’t get into the program she wants but does leave Eliza to be Daniel’s assistant to get ahead quicker.

Senator James takes Eliza to dinner under the guise of a business meeting. He tells her that Nathan will be going to rehab because he is clearly on drugs and apologizes profusely. Eliza is relieved to hear the trust and enjoys the wine Senator James orders. Nathan shows up to apologize in person. It doesn’t go well, so Eliza chugs wine! (That’s what I would do!)

A waiter is paid to drug Eliza’s wine, and she is incapacitated. Senator James and Nathan carry her out of the bar while Paparazzi take photos. News stories come out and make them look bad. Cora does damage control and tells a story about Eliza having food poisoning at a family dinner. Senator James calls Eliza and asks her to attend an event on 10/22/ (Is the date significant? Nope!)

The event takes place, and Cora acts like Eliza’s BFF while secretly shaming her under her breath. Cora tells Eliza she will ship her to a Mexican prison if she doesn’t play along. Eliza gets the message and keeps up appearances. She tells everyone she feels better and is “allergic to alcohol.” Cora and Eliza fight upstairs later, and Eliza gives back the pearl earrings. Cora laughs in Eliza’s face. The earrings are meaningless and aren’t a family heirloom, as Senator James had said.

Daniel and Katie are at the party, and he tells Eliza that she doesn’t deserve the job she has. Katie is promoted to the admission board.

Nathan goes missing, and Charlotte becomes concerned. Eliza finds his body on the sidewalk. Detectives question Eliza and accuse her of stalking the family. Eliza breaks up with Senator James. He cries because he is upset that Eliza is bailing when things get hard. (Or when she is a murder suspect!) Senator James also sucks, so she should break up with him.

Katie pops off on Eliza in a meeting and accuses Eliza of knowingly choosing Nathan over her for the last admissions spot. Eliza fires Katie, and she leaves dramatically.

“I hate you! I hate ALL of you. I hate this school. You are all hypocrites. I hope you all choke on your stupid whiskey and die!” (Damn, Katie!)

A video is sent to Eliza, and she watches Katie and Senator James hooking up in his office, and when she doesn’t agree to keep the tryst secret, she is murdered. Katie’s body ends up in Eliza’s office, and she is framed for the killing.

The detectives take Eliza into police custody, and she is put on immediate leave while the investigation is completed.

The admission board offers Charlotte the position that was meant for Nathan. She plotted it all along and gives an impassioned speech at Nathan’s memorial. Cora is drugged as guests are leaving and falls into Eliza’s arms.

Charlotte pulls the knife on Eliza and tells her not to call 911. Charlotte offers to explain why she did every. It is all because Nathan got something he didn’t deserve and was the benefactor of nepotism. Charlotte accuses Eliza of just going with the status quo and is disappointed in her lameness.

The villain’s monologue is interrupted by Senator James, whose drugs have worn off. He admits to hiring a hitwoman to kill Katie. Charlotte runs for it, and Senator James chases after her and beats her pretty badly. Eliza kills him with a Croquet mallet.

Charlotte tells Eliza that she REALLY messed up now and helps her cover it up. There is an end-of-the-movie montage of cleaning up the crime scene.

Eliza leaves the university and works for the government instead. She takes meetings with Charlotte, and they get away with it. Eliza fears getting caught, but Charlotte is confident they won’t. Little do they know Cora takes photos of them from a car outside! Uh Oh!

Side Note/Stray Thoughts

My day job is working for a university, and I can confirm… this is EXACTLY what it is like.

Minority Report: Eliza, Charlotte, Detective,

Overall rating 

Number of Kills:
🔪🔪🔪 (3 knives)

Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale):
🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 Glasses of Wine)

Should you watch it?

Pour it up! (Give it a shot)

Put a Cork in It (Skip It)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked & @patrickmiguel

*Photo Credit: © 2023 Lifetime® | A+E Networks®

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #LifetimeMovies #Lifetime #SecretsofaUniversity


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