- 1 hr 51 min
Secretary is a romantic comedy-drama that explores the relationship between a boss and his secretary. It follows the story of Lee Holloway, a young woman freshly released from a mental institution after a history of self-harm, who gets a job as an assistant to lawyer E. Edward Grey. From the very first interview, Lee is fascinated by Grey's behavior. He's stern, controlling, and demanding, and yet there's something magnetic about him. Much to her surprise, Lee finds comfort in his rigid rules and high expectations, and he seems to appreciate her efforts in delivering on his requests. Over time, their relationship takes on a highly unusual dynamic, with Grey becoming more and more controlling and Lee more and more submissive. Grey begins to take a keen interest in Lee's personal life, making sure that she is eating properly, dressing appropriately, and exerting her willpower in more constructive creative ways. Lee, meanwhile, revels in the attention and guidance that Grey offers, allowing herself to be molded into the perfect submissive wife. Their relationship takes an even more dramatic turn when Grey introduces Lee to the world of BDSM. At first, Lee hesitates but eventually finds herself drawn into Grey's world, enjoying the physical pain and pleasure that it brings. Throughout the movie, we see Lee's evolution into a confident, self-assured woman who's not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She finds herself with a newfound vibrancy and a deep sense of empowerment, relishing the way that Grey challenges her and pushes her beyond her comfort zone. As the story unfolds, we see that Grey is hiding traumatizing experiences of his own and that his cold, distant demeanor belies a deep sense of loneliness and isolation. In many ways, Lee becomes his salvation from the depths of his own dissatisfaction. Secretary is notable for its sensitive exploration of BDSM and the way that it foregrounds the emotional and psychological aspects of its central relationship. Its depiction of a woman discovering herself, seizing control of her own life, and transforming her darkest impulses into strength is both tender and evocative. The movie is captivating and provocative, defying expectations at every turn. It's anchored by two brilliant performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, who bring depth and nuance to their complex roles. Their onscreen chemistry is palpable, and they infuse their characters with a raw vulnerability that draws the viewer in and urges them to root for their unlikely love story. In short, Secretary is a beautifully crafted movie that asks important questions about the nature of control, desire, and human connection. Bold, daring, and deeply felt, it's a cinematic triumph that's sure to stay with viewers long after the credits roll.