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Trailer
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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.

Director:

Steven Shainberg

Writers:

Erin Cressida Wilson (screenplay), Mary Gaitskill (short story) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,211 ( 174)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 15 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Spader ... Mr. Grey
Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Lee Holloway
Jeremy Davies ... Peter
Lesley Ann Warren ... Joan Holloway
Stephen McHattie ... Burt Holloway
Patrick Bauchau ... Dr. Twardon
Jessica Tuck ... Tricia O'Connor
Oz Perkins ... Jonathan
Amy Locane ... Lee's Sister
Mary Joy ... Sylvia
Michael Mantell ... Stewart
Lily Knight ... Paralegal
Sabrina Grdevich ... Allison
Lacey Kohl Lacey Kohl ... Louisa
Julene Renee ... Jessica
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The story of a demanding boss and the woman who loves his demands. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La secretaria See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$182,306, 22 September 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,059,680

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,304,609
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The CD soundtrack was released on October 8, 2002 by Lionsgate Records. The MP3 version was released July 11, 2006. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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.
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Crazy Credits

The legal disclaimer has typing errors:
  • "fictitious" is misspelled "ficticious"
  • "unintentional" is misspelled "unitentional"
  • unauthorized use of the film is warned as resulting in "civil liberty" instead of "civil liability"
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Connections

Referenced in Tatort: Ordnung im Lot (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Me and Baby Brother
Performed by War
Written by Thomas Allen (as Sylvester Allen), Harold R. Brown, Morris D. Dickerson (as Morris Dickerson),
Lonnie Jordan (as Leroy L. Jordan), Charles Miller (as Charles W. Miller),
, Lee Oskar and Howard E. Scott (as Howard Scott)
Courtesy of Avenue Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
oh, james, oh, maggie...
28 September 2002 | by lasciareSee all my reviews

How refreshing!! It has been quite some time since I went to the movies and walked out feeling I could wholeheartedly endorse the film I just saw. When asked why this film was so good by my coworkers, I responded "the actors' performances, the sets, the script, the content, essentially everything." And so it is, everything. Thank the spirits that flow someone still has the ability, honesty, and energy to make such a film in the land of fakery and deception. While the relationship depicted is that of a sadist and a masochist and this is what will get played up in the press, the point is the relationship and the near impossibility of love working without complete honesty. Bravo.


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