Secretary 2002

Secretary

Critics Consensus

Maggie Gyllenhaal impresses in this romantic comedy with a kinky twist.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 156

82%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 60,488

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Movie Info

Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a young woman with a history of severe emotional problems, is released into the care of her overbearing parents following a stay at a mental institution. She finds work as a secretary for a rigid and demanding attorney, E. Edward Grey (James Spader), and starts dating the kind but dull Peter (Jeremy Davies). However, Lee soon realizes she's turned on by Grey's stern demeanor, and begins a sadomasochistic relationship with him.

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Critic Reviews for Secretary

All Critics (156) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (119) | Rotten (37)

Audience Reviews for Secretary

  • Mar 18, 2017
    "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.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2015
    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.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 22, 2014
    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.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Mar 18, 2013
    Maggie Gyllenhaal is just fabulous as a Secretary who discovers that she loves the kink with her boss and the odd way that she falls into such a predicament. Good character discovery.
    John B Super Reviewer

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