Phase9 Movies 2000-12

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Year: 2002
USA: Lionsgate Films
UK: Metro Tartan Distribution
Cast: James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Lesley Ann Warren, Jeremy Davies, Amy Locane, Patrick Bauchau, Stephen McHattie, Oz Perkins, Jessica Tuck, Mary Joy, Michael Mantell, Sabrina Grdevich, Lily Knight, Lacey Kohl, Julene Renee, Ezra Buzzington, Lauren Cohn, Kyle Colerider-Krugh, Shannon Convery, Steven Fierberg, Russel Harper, Alison Tatlock, David Wiater
Director: Steven Shainberg
Country: USA
USA: 104 mins
UK: 111 mins
USA Rated: R for strong sexuality, some nudity, depiction of behavioral disorders, and language
UK Certificate: 18 contains strong sexual theme, sex and language
USA Release Date: 27 September 2002 (Limited Release)
USA Release Date: 20 September 2002 (Limited Release - Los Angeles and New York)
UK Release Date: 16 May 2003


With sheer originality and bold, unflinching humour, SECRETARY embraces a most unconventional relationship and lays open the notion that love doesn't always occur in the traditional fashion. Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has a few strikes against her when she applies for a secretarial position at the law office of E Edward Grey (James Spader). For starters, she was released only recently from a mental institution. However, she gets the job anyway and soon learns that Mr Grey is not your average boss. Eventually, they begin a relationship, crossing lines of conduct that would give most human resource directors the shivers.

Director Steven Shainberg performs a remarkable feat by taking what could be construed as weighty material and infusing it with sensuality and, even more surprisingly, humour. Based on a critically acclaimed short story "Secretary," by Mary Gaitskill, the exquisitely honed character development of SECRETARY lures us to the darker side of human sexuality, all the while warming us up to the idea that people are getting - and giving - what they want. While it toys with society's expectations of love, SECRETARY also explores the delicate balance between pain and healing, control and surrender. It could never be labelled old-fashioned but, when all is said and done, SECRETARY is, at its core and undeniably, a love story.

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