Like, If you want to say "this movie had liberal themes that weren't that obvious, but you can tell If you pay attention." I think the word I'm looking for starts with "sub."

  • Are you an Eddie Izzard fan? He does a bit about American v. British film and uses the "sub-something" term quite well. It's in his show "Dressed to Kill". I found it on a fun website where you can search for specific terms used in film dialogue - subasub.com: "Lately we've pulled out of that with Trainspotting but the smaller film, the Room With A View With A Staircase And A Pond type movie. Films with very fine acting but the drama is rather subsued - subsumed? A word like that. Sub-something or another. Just sort of folded in…"
    – Bea Bonmot
    Apr 26 '16 at 14:13

subtext 1. An implicit meaning or theme of a literary text. 2. The underlying personality of a dramatic character as implied or indicated by a script or text and interpreted by an actor in performance.


subliminal might be what you're looking for...

*existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness; being or employing stimuli insufficiently intense to produce a discrete sensation but often being or designed to be intense enough to influence the mental processes or the behavior of the individual: a subliminal stimulus; subliminal advertising.



I think what you might be looking for is subcurrent (or undercurrent):

Definition (via Oxford Dictionaries Online):

An underlying feeling or influence, especially one that is contrary to the prevailing atmosphere and is not expressed openly.


The buoyant mood of his audience was certainly out of kilter with the deep undercurrent of frustration evident elsewhere in Bournemouth this week.


Perhaps the simple 'subtle' would suit your meaning. Any of the following senses might fill the bill, although the first seems closest:

subtle adj
1. not immediately obvious or comprehensible.
2. difficult to detect or analyse, often through being delicate or highly refined: a subtle scent.
3. showing or making or capable of showing or making fine distinctions of meaning.
4. marked by or requiring mental acuteness or ingenuity; discriminating.

(Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014. S.v. "subtle." Retrieved April 26 2016 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/subtle )



: situated or occurring underneath or below; underlying.

: lying at a lower level but not directly beneath.



: implied though not plainly expressed.

Oxford Dictionaries

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