Secretary - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Secretary Reviews

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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
September 7, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 4, 2002
The cast comes through even when the movie doesn't.
Read More | Original Score: B-
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
October 17, 2002
Despite its flaws, Secretary stays in your head and makes you question your own firmly held positions.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
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Richard Leiby
Washington Post
October 11, 2002
A picture with heart. You shouldn't leave feeling soiled or bruised. Just touched.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
October 10, 2002
Self-serious and ultimately pedestrian satire.
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Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
October 2, 2002
I don't know about you, but I found all these outrageously romantic maneuvers both funny and endearing.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
September 27, 2002
Secretary is just too original to be ignored.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
September 27, 2002
It provokes nothing but yawns, and the sex it explores is stuff everybody knows about and says, 'So what?'
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
September 27, 2002
Secretary is a textbook example of a movie that's not for everybody: It's easier to respect it than to enjoy it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
September 27, 2002
Though it was made with careful attention to detail and is well-acted by James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, I felt disrespected.
Read More | Original Score: C-
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
September 27, 2002
Both lead performances are earnest in the extreme and that the psychological explanations for what's shown on screen are facile, at best.
Read More | Original Score: 1/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
September 27, 2002
A good piece of writing.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rosen
Denver Post
September 27, 2002
It is truly original in its tone, its choices made and paths taken.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
September 27, 2002
The director, Steven Shainberg, has succeeded by focusing intently on his characters, making them quirky individuals rather than figures of fun.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
September 27, 2002
Depending upon your reaction to this movie, you may never again be able to look at a red felt Sharpie pen without disgust, a thrill, or the giggles.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
September 27, 2002
Secretary manages a neat trick, bundling the flowers of perversity, comedy and romance into a strangely tempting bouquet of a movie.
Read More | Original Score: B+
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
September 26, 2002
An edgy, cleverly written indie that simply derails shortly before the final stretch.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 26, 2002
If S&M seems like a strange route to true love, maybe it is, but it's to this film's (and its makers') credit that we believe that that's exactly what these two people need to find each other -- and themselves.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
September 26, 2002
The characters in Secretary never feel the least bit human.
Read More | Original Score: 1/4
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
September 26, 2002
For all its Bunuellian pretensions, Secretary is deeply conventional: Edward and Lee accept their bondage as the way to a more fulfilling life. It's the filmmakers who need to be spanked.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
September 26, 2002
I found the movie a bit of a bore.
Read More | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
September 23, 2002
This is one of those movies that could have gone all wrong, but it hits all the right notes.
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
September 20, 2002
Disturbing yet engrossing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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John Anderson
Newsday
September 20, 2002
Makes S&M seem very romantic, and Maggie Gyllenhaal is a delight.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
September 20, 2002
For all the dolorous trim, Secretary is a genial romance that maintains a surprisingly buoyant tone throughout, notwithstanding some of the writers' sporadic dips into pop Freudianism.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Megan Turner
New York Post
September 20, 2002
Against all odds, director Steven Shainberg has managed to craft an oddly compassionate -- and often very funny -- tale of an emotionally symbiotic affair.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
September 20, 2002
A liberating, kindhearted picture, one whose ending brings with it the feeling that something has finally been shaken free.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
September 20, 2002
The movie isn't painfully bad, something to be 'fully experienced'; it's just tediously bad, something to be fully forgotten.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
September 20, 2002
A small groundbreaking comedy.
Read More | Original Score: 4/5
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Graham Robinson
L.A. Weekly
September 19, 2002
Offers something few films even attempt: an honest depiction of the role sex plays in everyday life as a source of empowerment and healing.
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Entertainment Weekly
September 19, 2002
Sadomasochism is treated as a joke in Secretary, but the fun of the movie is that it's also much more than a joke.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 17, 2002
The movie enters a realm where few non-porn films venture, and comes across as darkly funny, energetic, and surprisingly gentle.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
September 6, 2002
Mary Gaitskill's infamous short story comes to the screen as a film of startling humor and feeling.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
April 8, 2002
What keeps the movie going is the riotously funny and supremely self-controlled performance by Gyllenhaal.