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Secretary [DVD] [2003]

James Spader , Maggie Gyllenhaal , Steven Shainberg    Suitable for 18 years and over   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
Price: £6.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Secretary [DVD] [2003] + White Palace [DVD] [1991] + 9.1/2 Weeks [1985] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: James Spader, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Davies, Lesley Ann Warren, Stephen McHattie
  • Directors: Steven Shainberg
  • Writers: Steven Shainberg, Erin Cressida Wilson, Mary Gaitskill
  • Producers: Amy Hobby, Andrew Fierberg, Jamie Beardsley, Joel Posner
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 18
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 5 Jan 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000SVW8G
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,225 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Secretary is a kinky love story featuring a standout performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal, an offbeat young actress in her first starring role. Gyllenhaal plays Lee, a nervous girl who compulsively cuts herself, but who then gets a job as a secretary for Edward, an imperious lawyer (James Spader, an old hand at tales of perverse affection). Edward's reprimands for typos and spelling errors begin with mild humiliation, but as Lee responds to his orders--which are driven as much by his own anxieties and fears as any sense of order--the punishments escalate to spankings, shackles and more.

Secretary walks a fine line: it finds sly humour in these sadomasochistic doings without turning them into a gag and it takes Lee and Edward's mutual desires seriously without getting self-righteous or pompous. Certainly not a movie for everyone, but some people may be unexpectedly stirred up by this smart and steamy tale of repressed passion. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

When Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal - Donnie Darko, Adaptation) gets a job as a secretary in a small firm, she does her best to please. But her new boss (James Spader - Stargate, Crash) finds fault with her typing and administers a rather unconventional kind of punishment. Soon Lee realizes that she is not only becoming the perfect secretary, but also the woman she always wanted to be. Daring, sexy and provocative, this award-winning film is a must for anyone who’s ever had a hard day at work …

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Art House Classic!!! 18 July 2007
By nmollo VINE VOICE
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Secretary" is a classic American film. It has the distinct flavour of a European art house film because of its intelligence, pace and style. That said this is not everyone's cup of tea. It deals difficult subjects such as sexual perversion, masochism and self harm yet the film is blatantly romantic and life affirming. It is also very funny.

The performance of Maggie Gyllenhaal is excellent and beautifully observed. Her transformation from loopy repressed adolescent to sexually confident woman is a joy to watch. She becomes extraordinarily sexy. James Spader is remarkable. No other actor in Hollywood could have played this part with such conviction and humour. His performance is that of an actor unafraid by the limitations imposed on most Hollywood leading men. He is ready to try the ridiculous at whatever cost and the results are more often than not refreshing and original.

The director Steven Shainberg displays a wealth of talent and it is a shame he is not pre-disposed to direct more films. He is obviously an actor's director. The final reel is the weakest of the picture. It seems to want to apologize for the excesses of the preceding reels, which need no apology.

I was left with one lingering question as Maggie Gyllenhaal stares directly at us provoking a judgement. Does her husband fire up the lights around the sign "Secretary Wanted" as soon as he gets to work?
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
By Sue Lewendon VINE VOICE
I stumbled across this fantasic masterpiece quite by accident. It was late at night and I was up doing the ironing. I was looking through the movie channels and saw that this was the only film about to start so I thought , "What the heck?"
I hadn't got a clue what it was about and so I was expecting to be very bored, I mean, how exciting can a film be about a secretary right? Well how wrong could I be! What I found was a very sexy, classy and truly romantic movie that just melts my cares away every time I watch it. (It's on autoview every time it's on now until I get it at Christmas, and I BETTER get it or there will be hell to pay!!!)
Anyway, the movie is actually about sado-masochism. We meet Miss Holloway, (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who has recently been released from a mental institution after accidentally cutting herself too deep one day. Hence the masochism. Then we are introduced to a very odd prospective boss in Mr E. Edward Grey, (James Spader). Hence the sadism. The interview itself deserves a mention. It's delightfully funny and James Spader is just delicious.
What ensues is a very agreeable relationship that blossoms between these two, until it's clear to everyone that they are meant to be together. They are peas and carrots, sugar and spice, mental torture and humiliation!
The supporting cast are very good but if I'm to be entirely honest, I don't think this film needs anyone else in it! I would be perfectly happy to just sit and watch these two very compatible people mess with each others minds! In some scenes, I literally laugh out loud where as in others, I feel sympathy for the pair as we see how, although they gel together very nicely, they struggle with every day life being so compulsively obsessive.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and delightful romantic comedy 4 April 2004
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal)is a shy, disturbed girl given to self-harm. She takes a job as secretary to eccentric lawyer Edward Grey (James Spader),and finds herself blossoming as their strange relationship develops. Spader encourages her to give up her habit of self-mutilation, and she grows happier and more confident. She even acquires a pleasant but slightly wet boyfriend, but when Spader sees them flirting together at the launderette (launderettes seem to be much more glamorous in America) he is clearly consumed by jealousy, and then Lee makes one spelling mistake too many, which leads to that now-famous and very sexy spanking scene. Lee clearly relishes their kinky relationship, but things start to go wrong when Edward,alarmed by her intensity, backs off, and to her disgust, starts treating her like "just a regular old secretary". Meanwhile nice but slightly wet boyfriend wants to marry her, but can she settle for a nice, safe unexciting marriage rather than romance and passion? No, fortunately she can't, and she sets out to get her man come what may. The film is wonderfully sexy and funny, Gyllenhaal and Spader are both terrific, there is an excellent supporting cast and the film has a terrific ending. What more could you want?
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars *Secretary* 17 Feb 2005
'Secretary' begins by throwing us into the life of Lee, a compulsive self-mutilator who lands herself a job as an eccentric lawyer's secretary after being released from the psychiatric institution. Quite a lot to stomach already, then the story develops into a tale of love at first sight with a seriously sadomasochistic twist, as Lee is immediately drawn to her domineering boss. He in turn seems to share the same feelings but is apparently incapable of forging relationships, therefore the only way they experience their romance is through darkly comical S&M experiences. Morally wrong perhaps but director Steven Shainburg portrays the fetish theme in a surprisingly gentle light allowing the film to continue as a love story in one way or an other.
Whilst 'Secretary' is slightly out there on a proverbial limb, the aim was not to shock but to portray love from a perspective outside of the social norms. On that note it succeeds and while criticisms do exist over the morality of one torture replacing an other, the general tone of the film is surprisingly optimistic and romantic.
Maggie Gyllenhaal shines with a breakthrough role as the submissive Lee with a turn which saw her achieve a Golden Globe nomination. Her energetic performance most certainly deserved more as she played a very challenging role down to an almost perfection.
It was a routine walk in the park for James Spader, almost a veteran on the indie scene. Nevertheless he was still very impressive as Mr. Grey, the obsessive lawyer as he surprisingly manages to force the audience into building up an odd likeness of his character despite all of his odd eccentricities.

Sadomasochism is a tricky subject but 'Secretary' approaches it carefully, avoiding offence and the shock factor.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film
A great film to watch, A great performance from James Spader - love him! I recommend this film to anyone :0
Published 4 days ago by Caan Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Secretary
This is an excellent film with very good actors The storyline is unusual some may say a bit on the purvey side ,but if you've
got an open mind it is OK . Read more
Published 1 month ago by leslie beaumont
3.0 out of 5 stars watchable
very dissappointed. luke warm, certainly not the erotic movie I had hoped for. Watched the film to the end though.
Published 1 month ago by karen crook
1.0 out of 5 stars Rubbish. Can I have those two hours of my life back?
twisted and boring film. Nothing really happens. it builds this tension up to make you think something really exciting is going to happen but then nothing much does. Read more
Published 2 months ago by JESS
3.0 out of 5 stars dvd
Bit disappointed, having expected something a little hotter! Had a job to keep interested until the end. It was just okay for a wet afternoon.
Published 2 months ago by FMM Edwards
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual
An unusual film with unusual subject matter. Quite well acted and at times amusing and titillating, at times embarrassing.. Read more
Published 2 months ago by chris
4.0 out of 5 stars sexy
very sexy enjoyed story line would recommend would like to see it as full xxx film not for the under 18
Published 2 months ago by marilyn farrell
4.0 out of 5 stars Ok but a bit out dated now
Having read fifty shades of grey this is a bit boring but if you haven't read it then you might think this is ok!!!
Published 4 months ago by Beverley Bish
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Great service by Amazon. Very amusing film. I did watched it in the past and I loved it. I bought it for a friend.
Published 4 months ago by Francesca
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth watching
A good movie that gives a good insight into the thoughts and emotions involved in some fetish activities. Worth watching.
Published 5 months ago by Rex
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