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Movie review: Secretary

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Movie review: Secretary


Lee is an attractive young woman recently released from a mental hospital where she was residing for cutting herself. Reintegrating into the world, she finds a job as a secretary for a strange, egotistical attorney with whom she builds an even stranger relationship built on sadomasochism.

James Spader (Mr. Grey), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Lee), Jeremy Davies (Peter), Lesley Ann Warren (Joan), Stephen McHattie (Burt), Patrick Bauchau (Dr. Twardon), Jessica Tuck (Tricia), Oz Perkins (Jonathan).

Secretary starts out by giving us a glimpse of the desires with which Lee has struggled, and been institutionalized for acting out. Upon finding a job, and Mr. Grey, her desires quickly come bubbling to the surface where amazingly she finds they fit with Mr. Grey's peculiar interests quite well. Though the two never really talk about their interests or relationship, what they create is a unique dominant and submissive relationship that has a certain simply purity which is presented well in the film.

Acting was very well done here. Spader was appropriately self-consumed while at the same time being concerned for Lee all with some obsessive compulsive twists. Gyllenhaal was exceptional, delivering good emotion while also presenting the role of submissive very well. The remainder of the supporting cast was solid and interesting.

Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were simple but nicely done and fit the film well. Physical effects were minimal but good and appropriate for the theme. Dialogue was very good and presented well. Sound and soundtrack were good.

Overall Secretary is an interesting and engaging look into domination and submission from an emotional and psychological perspective. Though some might find the film challenging morally, it takes a lighter position on the physical interaction, which will leave many some latitude to still enjoy the film.

With strong sexuality, some nudity, alternative lifestyle behaviors, psychological disorders, and foul language save this for adults and above.

Released: 2002
Reviewed: 1.31.14
Star rating: 5 out of 5
Genre: Drama, Dark Humor & Black Comedies, Steamy Romance, Indie Romance, Indie Dramas

copyright ©2014 Dave Riedel

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