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161 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely delightful film
This film could have been third class perverted semi-porn movie. But the director Steven Shainber did great job in turning a bit perverted material-sadism and masochism-into absolutely funny and cute love story. Although the movie deals with somewhat irregular sexual issues, it is never erotic or disgusting. The reason, I suppose, is truthfulness and purity of the...
Published on June 6 2003 by Yun Jung Kim

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film, terrible quality
I don't know whether the disc I received was part of a defective batch but what I watched wasn't blu-ray... The picture was slightly fuzzy and there was a 'grainy haze' particularly noticeable at the beginning. I was blown away by the film though. I had avoided it based upon assumptions I made based on the cover (the bend over one). But it was nothing like I expected...
Published 8 months ago by A Customer


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars absolutely delightful film, June 6 2003
By 
Yun Jung Kim (Seoul, South Korea) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
This film could have been third class perverted semi-porn movie. But the director Steven Shainber did great job in turning a bit perverted material-sadism and masochism-into absolutely funny and cute love story. Although the movie deals with somewhat irregular sexual issues, it is never erotic or disgusting. The reason, I suppose, is truthfulness and purity of the characters.
Maggie Gyllenhaal(Lee) did stunning work in playing a very pure, yet unconventional, female secretary. Lee looks somewhat dumb and weak to her desire, but at least she is uncontaminated by the outside world and true to her feelings. The way she tries to seduce James Spader is quite adorable.
James Spader also proved that he is a great actor. Mr. Gray (Spader) is slightly deviated from the normal person, but still he is greatly attractive man. How he heals the wounds of Lee and how he resists her seduction induces laughter from the audiences.
This film is never typical and never normal, yet it shows the true feelings of the human beings. This film depicts physical attraction, yet it show what real love is.
I absolutely recommend this film to everybody and I guarantee that anyone who sees this film will like it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasure and Pain, Nov. 14 2003
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
Sexuality has forever played a tremendous role in our storytelling. In recent years, those roles and themes have become more visible, controversial and erotic. Where censorship strives to dismiss controversy, "Secretary" embraces it and offers us an unforgetable tour of the taboo.
"Secretary" forces us to look outside of the box - and see through the eyes of Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Lee is of a unique breed, who gets pleasure from pain and finds security out of being submissive. Lee returns home for her sister's wedding after having spent time in a mental patient facility. We are immediately find out she is a cutter and inflicts wounds of all sorts for a sense of relief. Determined to not spend all her time at home with her dysfunctional family, she gets a job working as a secretary in a law office for E. Edward Grey (James Spader). Grey is an abrasive anal-retentive man who apparently runs through secretaries every few months or so. We soon witness his growing infactuations with Lee and through his mood swings and psuedo-violent behaviors, a strange sort of romance develops between them. He begins to abuse her and as these habits become more severe, she looks for more ways to receive abuse. Lee must then balance her two seperate lives, living with her family/exploring a relationship with a childhood boyfriend and the taboo S&M relationship she carries with her employer. Both worlds,of course, interfere with each other, ultimately ending with a final confrontation and a surprise ending.
Maggie Gyllenhaal has proven herself to be a superb actress. Her character seems so real in all her actions - there is nothing campy about her subtle nature and her excitement's crescendos. Though her role is small in this feature, Leslie Ann Warren lends her usual charismatic prescence as Lee's over protective suburban mother. James Spader is surprisingly cold and calculated in all of his antics. Each expression on his face becomes immaculately complex, as to which we must question what is going through his head as he spanks his "helpless" employee leaning over his desk.
One must remember that this movie relys on exposing the dark side of sexuality. Full female nudity, masturbation and sex is blunty displayed in a few scenes. What makes this art instead of smut is the underlying emotional states of the characters. One can only hope to find some understanding of their psychology and desires. Because of how controversial the subject matter is, this movie is not for everyone. And I think that might be a reason I love it so much!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great film, terrible quality, Nov. 13 2013
I don't know whether the disc I received was part of a defective batch but what I watched wasn't blu-ray... The picture was slightly fuzzy and there was a 'grainy haze' particularly noticeable at the beginning. I was blown away by the film though. I had avoided it based upon assumptions I made based on the cover (the bend over one). But it was nothing like I expected. The film gets 5/5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexy, sweet, funny, twisted (in a good way), May 28 2004
By 
"lilylaamor" (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
I saw this film not knowing anything about it, and that element of surprize helped entirely because if you're looking for a film that's about gritty hardcore s+m, this isn't it. But if you're looking for one with heart, humor, and beautiful-strangeness, then this is a wonderful movie to see. I loved the ending, it is beautiful and unforgettably visual. It's my favourite James Spader film to date, I think it fits him perfectly. And Maggie Gyllenhaal shows she is a talented, brave actress who's not afraid of taking an unusual role. The camera work is beautiful, suspenseful, dramatic, sensual... oh i can't say enough good things about this film, there is not another like it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Remakes", May 25 2012
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This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
I loved this movie, its nice to see the original movies.
There are so many remakes today, in books and in movies, that
it just doesn't surprise us any more and we always have that feeling of
"deja vu". The Dominants name is "Grey" could it be the inspiration behind "Fifty Shades"?????

Before they make "Fifty Shades of Grey" into a movie and my guess is we will probably be desapointed, see this one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual romatnic comedy, July 7 2004
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a disturbed young woman given to self-mutilation , just out of a stay in a mental institution. She does a typing course and takes a job as a secretary to eccentric lawyer E. Edward Grey (James Spader). She finds his exacting demands to her liking, and blossoms in his employment. Thier mutual attraction is obvious. She even acquires a nice but slightly wet boyfriend. Then one night E. Edward Grey sees her flirting with her boyfriend in the launderette (American launderettes seemm to be much more glamorous than British ones) this sets off feelings of jealousy that leads to his fury at her spelling mistakes and the now-famous (and very sexy) spanking scene. Their relationship blossoms and becomes more and more kinky (there is a wonderful scene where he puts a saddle on her and a carrot in her mouth and you can see the expression of absolute relish on her face). But he is unable to cope with their growing intimacy and backs off, he starts treating her, as she remarks in disgust "just like a regular old secretary", even when, in desperation, she empties all her tipp-ex into the river. Nice but wet boyfriend wants to marry her, and it looks for a while as if she is going to, but it's really Mr. Grey that she wants, and she is determined to do everything she can to get him. This is an absolutely wonderful film. James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal both give marvellous performances, the film has wit and charm and humour, and is the only film I've ever seen that treats a kinky relationship with such sympathy. It has a wonderful ending too. Absolutely delightful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great and suprising movie, June 8 2007
By 
G. Larouche (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Secretary (DVD)
If you like dark humour, Maggie Gyllenhaal's butt and anything bizarre, you will LOVE this movie! It is not as kinky as one might be lead to think (although it gets a bit explicit at moments, hence the R rating), but it definetly explores unusual relationships and views of love and sex. Risque and excellent!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great story with brilliant performances, July 6 2004
By 
Dynomoose "adynomoose" (New Orleans, La United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
What's really terrific abiout this film is not that it has spanking and "degredation", but that it has the nerve to show that some "alternative" lifestyles actually make people shine.
By becoming a submissive in an S&M relationship, the main character not only grows into a mature, confident adult but she also learns to assert her needs and wants.
The romance is touching, and sweet.
My only complaint is with the mother's character (Leslie Ann Warren) is too outrageous and not believable.
All in all, this is an inspiring, romatic and fun movie for anyone who enjoys quality film!
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5.0 out of 5 stars This movie is fantastic...kinky, quirky and fun..., June 14 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
As a feminist, the themes presented in this film were not my cup of tea...so I feel kind of awkward and embarrassed saying that I really enjoyed SECRETARY. I won't go into detail about plot and such, because it has all been said in previous reviews, but I will share some of my personal opinions.
This movie is very disturbing, but the two leading players are fascinating to watch. I am a huge fan of James Spader, and he just shines in these kind of "twisted" roles. He is definitely one of the world's greatest actors! And Maggie is absolutely fantastic as well! She is obviously a very talented actress with a lot of guts. I give her a lot of credit for taking a role that many women wouldn't touch. The only real qualm I have with this film is that it could have gone into a little more detail about Mr. Grey's past and why he behaves the way he does. It didn't provide enough information about his character's previous exploits.
Another thing about this film that makes it unique is the way that it is able to be flat-out sexy without a lot of actual sex. The tensions between the two characters are so complex and I was always wondering what they would be feeling (and doing!) next. Seriously, the sexual tension in several of the scenes is so thick that you can cut it with a knife (this is especially true with the spanking scene). And you just gotta love those red Sharpies! Also, the musical score is terrific and highly seductive.
Overall, this is a great film and it was interesting to see a different kind of love lifestyle (although it is one that I would never pursue myself)! The ending is touching and it was good to see how these two people finally came together and shared some touching, gentle moments. I am not a big fan of nudity in movies, but the scenes in this film were done in an artistic, respectful and beautiful way.
I have watched this movie several times already, but nothing compares to the experience of seeing it for the very first time. Initially, I found this film to be shocking and even mildly disgusting. After thinking about it for a little while, however, I grew to realize what a fine independent picture SECRETARY is...and now I love it! I highly recommend this film, but not for individuals who are closed-minded about this kind of subject matter. For mature, open-minded viewers, this movie is a must!
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5.0 out of 5 stars this movie rocks, May 27 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Secretary [Import] (DVD)
the sexual tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I found it interesting and erotic, definately not vanilla.
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Secretary [Import]
Secretary [Import] by Steven Shainberg (DVD - 2008)
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