Movie of the Day – Secretary

There are few genres of movies that I don’t enjoy.  Romantic comedies are the primary bane of my existence since they are predictable and typically star Kate Hudson or the shirtless guy, Matthew McConaughey.  Their story lines follow the typical, opposites attract and then there is a breakup with the eventual reconciliation at a bridge or something near the end of the movie.  Nothing of real substance since the movie fulfills a relative niche market.  Now I am not opposed to seeing romantic comedies, I date occasionally and that means movie night will roll around and thus it will be her turn to pick and that is the only time that I go see these movies.  So it’s rare when I find a romantic movie that I really like, which is Secretary.  This is not a typical romantic comedy, since the movie is about two people in a dominant/submissive BDSM relationship.  If you aren’t familiar with that term, you should use caution when Googling it.  Now we can jump into the subtext as to why I favor a S&M themed romantic comedy movie at a later date or never, as I would rather talk about the movie.

Secretary follows the story of Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is a somewhat emotional/socially awkward women who comes from a dysfunctional family.  After a rather dangerous episode of self cutting, she is rehabilitated and finds a trade to occupy her time.  She learns to type and starts looking for a position that would suit her limited skills.  She finds a job position at the eccentric law office of Edward Grey (James Spader).  Lee is not very good at the job, with constant mistakes and misspellings.  She constantly disappoints Edward almost every day, but we start to see why Edward keeps her around.  Edward, from his commanding position over Lee, is sexually excited about being dominant over Lee.  He takes pleasure when he barks orders at her to fix her spelling or picking up around the office.  Lee starts to like the feeling of being dominated by Edward and it comes to full tilt when Edward commands that Lee never hurt herself again.

After this mini sexual awakening, the two embark on BDSM relationship while at work.  Lee is also trying to have a normal relationship but is just not excited by the prospect of being with him.  One day Edward fires Lee and she reluctantly agrees to marry her boyfriend after he proposes.  After realizing that she doesn’t just miss their work relationship, but rather Edward himself, Lee runs off the day of the wedding and she professes her love to Edward and submits to him.  You can see where this is headed.

So the movie follows a rather unorthodox relationship formula.  Unorthodox to the mainstream since S&M isn’t something that we usually see in our movie outings.  So having that theme be the driving point of the two actors made for a much more natural movie relationship.  Watching the power dynamic between the boss and subordinate translated very well to the relationship that both Lee and Edward would develop.  The S&M isn’t off-putting nor does it take focus off of the relationship.  I think having two, well say unusual, people finding their matching partner seems far more interesting than say, a high maintenance girl and scruffy looking guy finding common ground and falling in love.  I felt that Lee and Edward had a much deeper relationship and seemed very comfortable and natural.

The movie could have taken this subject matter to a dark place.  Instead the movie is light-hearted but with a bit of spanking and pain here and there.  It was enjoyable to watch something that isn’t explored in most, or any, romantic comedies.  Again you might be into that sort of thing, so this may not be shocking to you in terms of subject matter.  To some, this is a more eye-opening movie as you view a different form of relationship, where both are devoted to one another, but one spends more time wearing a bite gag or saddle.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

2 Responses to Movie of the Day – Secretary

  1. Romantic Dominant says:

    I enjoyed it – a rare study of D/s. Yet I was disappointed. It could have been so much more.

  2. I liked this movie. I thought it had an awesome cast. It was a good exploration into that lifestyle and why it’s attractive to some people. I wasnt to particularly impressed with the ending though. I thought they could have been more creative.

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