Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Secretary (2002)

Note: This review was originally posted on a message board forum. I am reposting it here for archival purposes. It has been backdated to the date of its original posting.

Secretary is an at times humourous romantic drama involving a dominant/submissive relationship which is much more obvious, and also much more physical, than that of 9 1/2 Weeks. Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader both give great, convincing performances in the lead roles.

Maggie's character, Lee, starts off just having been released from some sort of mental institution or hospital. She's innocent, quirky, naive, and has a masochistic streak that involves cutting herself. She takes pleasure in becoming a secretary for a rather strict lawyer, Mr. Grey. The two were quite clearly made for each other, but considering the nature of their desires, it takes some time and drama for them to realize, understand, and come to terms with what they want from each other - and that it's okay.

This is an enjoyable film. It's very entertaining, and the subject matter makes it a bit exotic and perhaps even educational to some degree. But at its heart it's just a good old-fashioned love story. I'd have to say this was the best Maggie Gyllenhaal performance I have yet to see. I think I can happily recommend this film, even to those not especially interested in this particular kink, provided the very idea of it doesn't completely turn you off, of course.

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