392 user 163 critic

Secretary (2002)

0:59 | Trailer

Watch Now

With Prime Video

A young woman, recently released from a mental hospital, gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer, where their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.



(screenplay), (short story) | 2 more credits »
701 ( 208)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 15 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sexually repressed woman's husband is having an affair with her sister. The arrival of a visitor with a rather unusual fetish changes everything.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: James Spader, Andie MacDowell, Peter Gallagher
Crash (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife.

Director: David Cronenberg
Stars: James Spader, Holly Hunter, Elias Koteas
White Palace (1990)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Max Baron (James Spader) is a 27-year-old high-flying advertising executive still recovering from the death of his wife. One night he is in a bar when he meets Nora Baker (Susan Sarandon), ... See full summary »

Director: Luis Mandoki
Stars: Susan Sarandon, James Spader, Jason Alexander
Lolita (1997)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A man marries his landlady so he can take advantage of her daughter.

Director: Adrian Lyne
Stars: Jeremy Irons, Dominique Swain, Melanie Griffith
9½ Weeks (1986)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A woman gets involved in an impersonal affair with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to get complicated.

Director: Adrian Lyne
Stars: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Margaret Whitton
Sherrybaby (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Sherry tries to integrate again into society and become a good mother.

Director: Laurie Collyer
Stars: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Ryan Simpkins, Sam Bottoms
Dream Lover (1993)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A successful businessman tries to uncover what is wrong with his wife.

Director: Nicholas Kazan
Stars: James Spader, Mädchen Amick, Fredric Lehne
Unfaithful (2002)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A New York suburban couple's marriage goes dangerously awry when the wife indulges in an adulterous fling.

Director: Adrian Lyne
Stars: Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Olivier Martinez
The Secretary (TV Movie 1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Disgruntled secretary Diedra turns to murder and blackmail after being turned down for promotion.

Director: Andrew Lane
Stars: Mel Harris, Sheila Kelley, Barry Bostwick
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A violent, suspended police detective investigates a brutal murder, in which a manipulative and seductive woman could be involved.

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, George Dzundza
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After a family tragedy, a racist prison guard reexamines his attitudes while falling in love with the African American wife of the last prisoner he executed.

Director: Marc Forster
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Taylor Simpson
Sex and Lucia (2001)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Various lives converge on an isolated island, all connected by an author whose novel has become inextricably entwined with his own life.

Director: Julio Medem
Stars: Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Najwa Nimri


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lee's Sister
Lacey Kohl ...


An emotionally fragile woman recently released from a mental hospital for self mutilation goes to school to gain secretarial skills to gain employment. She has an alcoholic father and a co-dependent mother who are clueless as to who she really is which a tormented soul who really wants to find something with which she can find success. She is a great secretary and finds a job with a unique, old fashioned, but off center in charge boss with a somewhat sadistic sexual proclivity. She grows and evolves and so does he. Written by kateann1027

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The story of a demanding boss and the woman who loves his demands. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality, some nudity, depiction of behavioral disorders, and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 October 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La secretaria  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$182,306 (USA) (20 September 2002)


$4,046,737 (USA) (7 February 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Gwyneth Paltrow was originally cast in the role of Lee Holloway. See more »


When Lee is masturbating in the office toilet, she puts her left hand in her blouse, covering her breast. Moments later, still masturbating, Lee's blouse is closed. See more »


[first lines]
Lee: [narrating] I got out of the institution on the day of my sister's wedding. I had started to get used to the place. Breakfast at 8:00, classes at 2:00. Therapy at 4:00, and asleep by 10:00.
Dr. Twardon: [Lee's doctor says goodbye] You can call me any time, Lee. I will always try to be of help to you.
Lee: [narrating] Inside, life was simple.
Lee: [Lee hugs her doctor] Thank you, Dr. Twardon.
Lee: [narrating] For that reason, I was reluctant to go.
See more »


Referenced in Californication: Fear and Loathing at the Fundraiser (2007) See more »


I Will Survive
Performed by Cake
Written by Freddie Perren (as Frederick J. Perren) and Dino Fekaris
Courtesy of Volcano Entertainment III, LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Quirky, fun, and everything I ever wanted in a film!
2 November 2002 | by (Buffalo, NY) – See all my reviews

"Secretary" is everything I have ever wanted in a film: romance, humor, drama, and kinky sex! The incredible chemistry between an amazing Maggie Gyllenhaal and a repressed yet fierce James Spader is what makes this movie work so well, and the tender depths to which their relationship is portrayed makes it so much more than just a film about sadomasochism. I felt that the main theme of the film was to show that people have pain, and it is only when you accept that pain that you are able to feel your emotions fully, therefore making your life much more livable. This movie was a bit quirky, and might not be for everyone. However, I would recommend it to anyone with an open mind. "Secretary" is by far my favorite film of the year.

41 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
No computer? GabrielGlaukon
Discuss Secretary (2002) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: