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Secretary (2002)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 54,815 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 374 user | 156 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

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.

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Title: Secretary (2002)

Secretary (2002) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 17 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Lee's Sister
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Lily Knight ...
Paralegal
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Lacey Kohl ...
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Storyline

Lee Holloway is a smart, quirky woman in her twenties who returns to her hometown in Florida after a brief stay in a mental hospital. In search of relief from herself and her oppressive childhood environment, she starts to date a nerdy friend from high school and takes a job as a secretary in a local law firm, soon developing an obsessive crush on her older boss, Mr. Grey. Through their increasingly bizarre relationship, Lee follows her deepest longings to the heights of masochism and finally to a place of self-affirmation. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Assume the position. See more »

Genres:

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 November 2002 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Secretary  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$135,931 (Australia) (30 May 2003)

Gross:

£829,624 (UK) (13 June 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Lee is being dried off by Mr. Grey, there are fewer scars and cuts on her torso than in the next shot, when he lays her on the bed. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Twardon: You know, Lee. There's a long history of this in Catholicism.
See more »


Soundtracks

Agenda Suicide
Performed by The Faint
Written by The Faint
Courtesy of Saddle Creek
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Not Your Typical Office Romance
22 September 2002 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

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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