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Secretary (2002)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  14 November 2002 (Israel)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 61,901 users   Metascore: 63/100
Reviews: 381 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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Writers:

(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

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

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

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:

La secretaria  »

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

Erin Cressida Wilson:  In Mr. Grey's waiting room, where there are three people waiting to see him, one of them is played by the film's screenwriter. See more »

Goofs

During the shot of Lee with the White Out bottles on the typewriter in the foreground, the reflection (inside the lens?) of the camera operator can be seen - an outline of a head with an arm turning the focus ring. See more »

Quotes

[Mr. Grey explains to Lee why he's firing her]
E. Edward Grey: It's your behavior.
Lee: What about my behavior?
E. Edward Grey: It's very bad.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Chariots Rise
Performed by Lizzie West
Written by Lizzie West
Produced by Brian Gitkin for West Press & Company
Engineered by Val Gamarnik (as Valery Gamarnik)
Courtesy of Warner Brothers Records Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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