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Sadomasochism provides the backdrop for a very unusual employer/employee relationship in this very offbeat romantic drama from filmmaker Steven Shainberg. Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a shy young woman, who, after a brief spell in a mental institution, is released in the care of her overprotective mother (Lesley Ann Warren) and hard-drinking father (Stephen McHattie). Hoping to make good on her own, Lee begins looking for a job, and in her free time indulges in her odd habit of inflicting pain upon herself in various ways. Lee is hired as a secretary by E. Edward Grey (James Spader), a… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The cast comes through even when the movie doesn't."
‑ Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Self-serious and ultimately pedestrian satire."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"This S&M satire teeters on the verge of sleaze and exploitation but never descends into those domains due to Maggie Gyllenhaal's exquisite performance in a tricky role."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Perhaps there is something bold about saying pain can bring healing as long as it's applied by the right hand, but that seems obvious and normal thanks to... Gyllenhaal."
‑ Moriarty, Ain't It Cool Movie Reviews
"It has an integrity to the kinkiness of its theme that doesn't shake loose but you'll get more out of it if you bring your analyst along with you."
‑ Jules Brenner, Cinema Signals
"Despite its flaws, Secretary stays in your head and makes you question your own firmly held positions."
‑ Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel
""Secretary" recalibrates the capabilities of meaningful romantic comedy - a "Pygmalion" variation that's stealthily tender, witty but never broad and scintillatingly erotic to the point of palpitations. Gyllenhaal and Spader give career-best work."
‑ Nick Rogers,
"A twisted and very funny rethinking of the romantic comedy genre. Great performances by Spader and Gyllenhaal."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"A great feature film with enough laughs, weirdness, fine performances and filmmaking flair to earn it a place on most critics' top ten of the year lists."
‑ Oz,
"Secretary might be too hot to handle for prudes and fuddy-duddies. But then again, it's the kind of film they might enjoy the most."
‑ Shannon J. Harvey, Sunday Times (Australia)
"A picture with heart. You shouldn't leave feeling soiled or bruised. Just touched."
‑ Richard Leiby, Washington Post
"Steven Shainberg maintains a level of erotic suspense and anticipation that his terribly empathetic characters fulfill with pleasantly surprising acts of physical expression."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"A comedy? A wake up call? I'm not sure."
‑ Ross Anthony, Hollywood Report Card
"A grande proeza do filme é mostrar que, para os personagens de Gyllenhaal e Spader, seus desvios de personalidade não são defeitos, mas um caminho diferente para a felicidade."
‑ Pablo Villaca, Cinema em Cena
"Playfully subversive and oddly life-affirming."
‑ Tim Robey, Daily Telegraph
More reviews for Secretary on Rotten Tomatoes

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