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Secretary (2002)

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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
2,050 ( 281)
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 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

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

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

After Mr Grey sees Lee preparing to self harm and she starts to tidy her desk the strands of hair falling in Lee's face change. First two then only one (when she holds the pencils) then two again. 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.
See more »

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"
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

I'm Your Man
Performed by Leonard Cohen
Written by Leonard Cohen
Courtesy of Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc.
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very original
17 April 2004 | by rbverhoefSee all my reviews

'Secretary' deals with a daring and original subject and does this in an effective and funny way. Its subject is sadomasochism, its genre is a romantic comedy. The secretary is Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who suffers from self-mutilation, her boss is Mr. Grey (James Spader), who seems the coldest man alive. When they are in the same room you feel that there is something there, they both feel it too. Since the movie opens with a certain S/M scene we already know that there is a point in the movie where the two must find each other and start the sadomasochism activities. I will not reveal how and when it happens, but the moment is great.

Saying too much about the story would spoil things. We laugh at the right times, which is a good thing. Considering the subject it is even hard to accomplish that since people who are not familiar with it laugh very easy when they see strange things. For most audiences the events will be strange. The original approach of the movie, the performances perfect for this movie, the funny moments and an ending that plays exactly as it should this is a good movie and one of the most original romantic comedies I have seen.


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