Secretary beats you black and blue in all the right places, and leaves you grinning from ear to ear.”
— Andy Bailey, indieWIRE
Year: 2002
Country: USA
Running time: 111 mins
Production co: Double A Films/Twopoundbag Prods
Producers: Steven Shainberg, Andrew Fierberg, Amy Hobby
Screenplay: Erin Cressida Wilson, Steven Shainberg.
Based on the short story by Mary Gaitskill
Photography: Steven Fierberg
Editors: Pam Wise, Jay Rabinowitz
Production designer: Amy Danger
Costume designer: Marjorie Bowers
Sound: Jonathan Wolff, Tom Varga, Jon Ailetcher
Music: Angelo Badalamenti

E. Edward Grey: James Spader
Lee Holloway: Maggie Gyllenhaal
Peter: Jeremy Davies
Dr Twardon: Patrick Bauchau
Burt Holloway: Stephen McHattie
Jonathan: Oz Perkins
Tricia O’Connor: Jessica Tuck
Lee’s sister: Amy Locane
Joan Holloway: Lesley Ann Warren
Sylvia: Mary Joy
Stewart: Michael Mantell
Allison: Sabrina Grdevich
Paralegal: Lily Knight

Festivals: Sundance, Locarno, Toronto, London 2002
“This wicked little black comedy, adapted from a short story by Mary Gaitskill, chronicles the perverse attraction between a young typist (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her uptight boss (James Spader), a sadomasochistic tango that strikes unexpected chords in each character. The young woman is a self-mutilator, and when the attorney spanks her for a minor mistake, she knows she’s found the right job. The film’s romantic conceit turns on the decidedly un-PC notion of female submissiveness, but director Steven Shainberg twists the story into a sly and stylized study of two lonely souls who come to realize they’re made for each other.” — Ted Shen, Chicago Reader.

Secretary is a genial romance that maintains a surprisingly buoyant tone throughout, notwithstanding some of the writers’ sporadic dips into pop Freudianis… The relationship that matters, that gives the film its spark, its cheeky humor and its reason for being, is the one Lee develops with her new boss, Mr Grey (Spader), an obsessive-compulsive lawyer with a fanatical loathing of typing errors and a predilection for sexual dominance. It’s a match made in dysfunctional heaven. Spader is very fine as a spookier, more twitchy version of the shuttered character he played in Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies and videotape… But it’s Gyllenhaal who makes Secretary work, saving it from titillation and sordidness as she turns a dormouse into a revelation.” — Manohla Dargis, LA Times

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