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) a... See full summary »
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.
Before FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, there was SECRETARY. James Spader leads this sexy and daring comedy as the original Mr. Grey, a seemingly normal lawyer whose relationship with his new secretary (Maggie Gyllenhaal) descends into a kinky affair that would give nightmares to any human resource director. Written by
The producers got a permit for the wrong park when Lee walks home. The producer on set had to distract the local law enforcement that showed up while the scenes were filmed. See more »
When Lee gets back in the car after her interview with Grey, the camera angle is in the back of the car looking straight between Lee and her mother. From this angle, one should be able to see Mrs. Holloway's face (otherwise she couldn't see behind the car while driving). Instead, we see the lower side of her head and the space above her right shoulder. To get a line of sight of the rear window with the mirror in this position, she'd have to scrunch down and lean to the right while driving. Worse, as the car drives away, the mirror remains at this cockeyed angle. Also in this scene (assuming they're supposed to be in the actual small city Clermont, FL as opposed to a fictional big city Clairmont, FL) when they drive away from Grey's office, a skyscraper can be seen in the distance (possibly downtown Los Angeles from the south if the scene was filmed in the morning). See more »
Maggie Gyllenhaal deserves an Oscar nomination for her brilliant portrayal of borderline psychotic, self-mutilating Lee Holloway, a former mental institution patient seeking to sustain herself - vocationally and emotionally - in a challenging world where she has few safe harbors. She comes from a messy family background although that alone can't explain her illness.
Learning typing, she gets a secretary's job with lawyer E. Edward Grey (James Spader, who also turns in a first-rate, nuanced performance). Grey refuses to have any computers in his very smart, expensive law office. Like many lawyers he's a perfectionist who abhors typographical errors but his obsession with perfection reflects more than an anal personality hitched to a law degree. His solo practice seems to thrive better than his self-control of a suppressed sexuality, awakened by Maggie at first unknowingly.
This is a film about what many consider to be deviant behavior (sado-masochism and bondage-discipline, not your usual Hollywood romantic fun and games) that most will concur is uncommon in the workplace. Director Steven Shainberg and his cast - and Gyllenhaal and Spader carry the film, forget the supporting actors - show Lee and Grey's rocky and developing relationship with candor, without condemnation and without exploitation. The lawyer and his secretary are sexualized in a way few have experienced and those who have don't talk to folks outside their circle.
This is a black comedy/a black drama. It either grabs or repels the viewer: there's no in-between. The resolution? Is it realistic or a cop-out? I'd love to hear from those able to comment from experience on IMDb's discussion board. But I have a feeling few will post reactions.
A very different film that I rate 8/10 on a personal scale where I value the deep and tortured acting projecting the absorbing conflict of this sexualized working (initially) relationship.
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