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as Mr. Grey
as Dr. Twardon
as Lee's Sister
as Paralegal Secretary
as First Secretary
as Typing Teacher
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Critic Reviews for Secretary
Spader handles a tricky role beautifully, but this is Gyllenhaals's tour de force. She is remarkable and original.
A feel-good movie about sadomasochism, the seriocomic Secretary manages to be simultaneously subversive and sweet...In the wrong hands, the conceit could have turned ugly and offensive. But Spader and Gyllenhaal have a hushed, hilarious chemistry.
What a surprise Secretary turns out to be. Freshly conceived, small-scale and daring.
The cast comes through even when the movie doesn't.
Audience Reviews for Secretary
"To thine own self be true," or so the saying goes but that's not always such an easy thing to do, society being society. Finding yourself, and then possibly finding love, is the gist here, capably realized by an able cast and in a memorable fashion.
What makes this film stand out as a truly adorable romance is the surprising way that it tackles the spicy kinkiness of its subject as a means for two people to find happiness, while it boasts a great score/soundtrack and Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in a lovely performance.
Based on a short story, written by Mary Gaitskill, "Secretary" tells the story of a mousy young woman who wants to change her life after a lifetime of cutting and self-hatred. Enter her boss (Spader) who is happy to help her change her ways by taking advantage of her sexually, culminating in a sadomasochistic relationship. The film is a test for the audience, to see if you believe it's a love story between two people who want a sub/dom relationship pertaining to a romantic interest that incorporates mutual respect and love, or a story about a man dominating a woman. The former would be a complex and often accepted story, since Gyllenhaal's character has to persuade her paramour that that is indeed what she wants, and that public attention doesn't limit her affection. It's rather sweet in places, but very dark in others, earnest in its depiction of these kinds of sexual fantasies and their participants. It's a bold endeavor for director Shainberg, one that pays off inevitably.
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