Secretary (2002 film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Secretary (film))
Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Secretary is a 2002 erotic romance film directed by Steven Shainberg and starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway and James Spader as E. Edward Grey. The film is based on a short story from Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill, and explores the relationship between a sexually dominant man and his submissive secretary.


Lee Holloway is the geeky and emotionally sensitive younger daughter in a very dysfunctional family. The father, as it turns out, is an alcoholic, while the mother tries desperately to make everything appear normal. When the movie opens, Lee is being released from a psychiatric hospital to attend her sister's wedding. Lee was hospitalized after cutting herself and suffering a near-fatal injury. Determined to adjust to society, she learns to type, begins to date Peter, a guest at the wedding with whom she went to high school, and looks for work. She is then hired as a secretary to tightly wound attorney Edward E. Grey. When she first enters his office, she is greeted by total chaos and his former secretary stomping past her in tears. Grey, who appears shaken, then hires her despite her rather unprofessional appearance.

The professional relationship between Lee and Mr. Grey is, in the beginning, rather strained. Lee has a number of annoying habits, her whole appearance unnerves the perfectionist Grey, and her docile behaviour has him constantly on edge - apparently he is sexually aroused by it, which shows in his excessive work-out when Lee literally goes through the garbage to find a file he accidentally threw out. However, the two become closer after Mr. Grey confronts Lee about her self-mutilating habits, explicitly telling her that she will never cut herself again. Eventually the two embark on a BDSM relationship, complete with spankings and slave collars. Lee, who was already besotted with Mr. Grey, experiences a sexual - and personal - awakening and falls even more deeply in love. Mr. Grey, however, is afraid of his deepening feelings and feels shame and disgust over his sexual habits. He fires Lee after a particularly kinky sexual escapade in his office.

Lee, who had been dating Peter the entire time, reluctantly accepts his proposal. Lee leaves Peter and runs off in the wedding gown to declare her love to Mr. Grey. He decides to test Lee's devotion by making her sit in a chair without moving her hands or feet until he comes back. Lee eagerly complies with the demand and even returns to her place after Peter, whom Mr. Grey had called and sent to the office, forcefully removes her from the chair. After three days, Mr. Grey's resistance breaks; he carries her to his home. They eventually marry, continuing the BDSM aspect of the relationship.


  • Assume the position
  • A comedy for everybody who's ever been tied up at work

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Secretary (2002 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools