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Secretary (2002)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  11 October 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 64,641 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 386 user | 162 critic | 39 from

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 »
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Title: Secretary (2002)

Secretary (2002) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 18 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan (as Oz Perkins)
Lee's Sister
Lily Knight ...
Lacey Kohl ...


James Spader is 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 Lionsgate

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)


£829,624 (UK) (13 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is one of the only mainstreams film that portrays BDSM in a positive light and not as abuse. See more »


Even though the movie is supposed to take place in Florida, many times large hills are seen in the background, the likes of which are not found in Florida, but are found around Los Angeles. See more »


E. Edward Grey: Good letter.
See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #21.91 (2013) See more »


Performed by Iffy
Written by Pederson, Merkl, Kirk Johnson
Courtesy of Foodchain Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Intriguing story
17 June 2003 | by (Glasgow, Scotland) – See all my reviews

Secretary is the first of its kind - a very dark love story. First of its kind in that it deals with themes never seen before seen in mainstream Hollywood cinema - S&M, sexual dominance and submission.

Maggie Gyllenhaal is outstanding in a potential minefield of a role - she handles it with dignity and even provides some effective dark humour.

The story here is that her character, Lee, applies for a job as a secretary for the firm owned by James Spader's brilliant Mr Grey. However, Lee has a history of self-harm and masochism and Grey has a dominance complex along with a very sadistic streak. Combine these 2 in theory and you have 2 very happy people. But this is no ordinary love story...

Spader, as stated, is brilliant. He brings an icy steel to the troubled Grey, but also provides a touch of black humour which comes at some great moments to 'release the tension'.

For the themes supplied here you'd probably expect a lot of raunchiness - well there are sexual moments, of course, but there is nothing gratuitous, which is in itself an achievement and well handled.

Overall it's quirky, off-beat, and a little bit different.

Worth a view.

184 of 198 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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