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
Two posters were made for this film, one showing leads James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal and the other showing a model from behind bending over. Gyllenhaal admitted that the model was not her but it was someone who was dating her ex-boyfriend. See more »
At Lee's sister's wedding reception, Lee's dad is drinking a beer. As camera looks over his left shoulder, he drinks the rest of the bottle with his right hand and his thumb is below the neck of the bottle. The camera shifts to a front view, but although the motion was continuously covered, his thumb is suddenly all the way up the neck and almost touching his lips. See more »
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.
[Lee's doctor says goodbye]
You can call me any time, Lee. I will always try to be of help to you.
Inside, life was simple.
[Lee hugs her doctor]
Thank you, Dr. Twardon.
For that reason, I was reluctant to go.
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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"
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.
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