Lee Holloway is a smart, quirky woman in her twenties who returns to her hometown in Florida after a brief stay in a mental hospital. In search of relief from herself and her oppressive childhood environment, she starts to date a nerdy friend from high school and takes a job as a secretary in a local law firm, soon developing an obsessive crush on her older boss, Mr. Grey. Through their increasingly bizarre relationship, Lee follows her deepest longings to the heights of masochism and finally to a place of self-affirmation.
'Secretary' is a 2002 black comedy based on a short story from 'Bad Behavior' by Mary Gaitskill. It was directed by Steven Shainberg and stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway and James Spader as E. Edward Grey.
I was flipping through the channels on Saturday night and came upon the very beginning of this movie. It looked interesting so I kept watching and I kept watching because it kept getting even more interesting.
When you read the reviews and watch the trailers, you expect this to be a very sexual movie. I don't think so. Though it is quite sexual (hardly any nudity and no actual intercourse), it is much more of an emotional piece than anything else.
Mr. Grey (James Spader), is an awkward man who isn't sure about his own tendencies and (basically apologizes for them) - therefore never letting anyone get close enough to stick around.
Lee (Maggie Gyllenhaal), is a life-long 'cutter' and just as she's finally decided to give that up, she discovers something even more satisfying (and much less harmful) to satisfy her addiction.
Anyone who's felt the strong desire to submit will completely relate to her character... the desire to serve, and the desire to be punished...
Really though, if you are looking for T&A or something porn-esque, this film is not for you.
I was completely sucked into the story - these two actors were marvelous - and plan to get myself a copy as soon as possible to go into my permanent collection.
This is a love story. A black comedy. It is weird and quirky. It is perfect.