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4.4 24
Director: Steven Shainberg,

Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader, Jeremy Davies


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Director Steven Shainberg and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson bring Mary Gaitskill's short story to the big screen with the 2002 film Secretary, released on DVD by Lion's Gate. Presented with a widescreen anamorphic transfer enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions. Audio is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with subtitles in English and Spanish. Also


Director Steven Shainberg and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson bring Mary Gaitskill's short story to the big screen with the 2002 film Secretary, released on DVD by Lion's Gate. Presented with a widescreen anamorphic transfer enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions. Audio is available in English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with subtitles in English and Spanish. Also includes an audio commentary track with the director and screenwriter. "Behind the Secretary" is a seven-minute short featurette containing interviews with the director and lead actors James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Other bonus materials include trailers for Secretary and Shainberg's previous film Hit Me, along with a photo gallery of on-set snapshots. This disc is highly recommended for viewers who are willing to acknowledge that there is a little bit of eroticism in just about anything.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Sarah Sloboda
Maggie Gyllenhaal's first starring role provides her with the opportunity to explore a rather demanding character, which she performs with depth and humor in Secretary. As Lee Holloway, she portrays a young woman with a strange addiction to pain, but remains engaging and easily empathized with. Lee's endeavors in the "real" world, after a youth with an emotionally disruptive family life, prove to be a bizarre representation of one's willingness to comply, in order to fulfill one's desires. By taking a secretarial job with E. Edward Grey (James Spader), she learns that taking orders is not only within her capacity as an employee, but in fact, serves a higher purpose for the whole of her person. Gyllenhaal makes magic as Lee, with a blatantly erotic upward gaze somehow innocent enough to leave both Mr. Grey and the audience wondering whether Lee -- or Gyllenhaal herself -- is aware of just how hot she really is. Lee becomes both emotionally and physically charged by her encounters with Spader's Mr. Grey, who issues commands in an unbearably sexy low voice. Spader's attractive forcefulness equals Gyllenhaal's more vulnerable role in its effectiveness of characterization. Tenaciously exacting, Mr. Grey's affection for obedience turns darkly appealing when sexy Spader ruthlessly delivers his demands. This strong opposition might suggest issues of stereotypical gender roles, but the film does not presume to make generalizations. Instead, it speaks specifically of the circumstances within one unique relationship that will define itself by the needs of the two individuals involved, however disturbing they may be. Within the deep mental and emotional issues of a somewhat alternative relationship, director Steven Shainberg creates a careful balance of mood using well-timed humor to prevent getting bogged down by the severity of the story. Meanwhile, the film pushes the boundaries of the R rating by use of implication. The things it doesn't show explicitly -- like masturbation -- are more than hinted at, while not officially breaking any limits. Taking metaphor to the extreme, Secretary allows access to the laughter and the pain of love in raw form.
Entertainment Weekly
There's a word for an actress who can go from nervous to winsome to raunchy to romantic in a heartbeat and get you to adore her the whole time. The word is star.
Most love stories are bland and generalized. This one takes you deep inside the dance. David Edelstein

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Lions Gate
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital Stereo]

Special Features

Closed Caption; Writer & director commentary; Behind-the-scenes featurette; 16 x 9 widescreen; Photo gallery; English & Spanish subtitles

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Maggie Gyllenhaal Lee Holloway
James Spader E. Edward Grey
Jeremy Davies Peter
Lesley Ann Warren Joan Holloway
Stephen McHattie Burt Holloway
Patrick Bauchau Dr. Twardon
Oz Perkins Jonathan
Jessica Tuck Tricia O'Connor
Amy Locane Lee's Sister
Mary Joy Sylvia
Michael Mantell Stewart
Sabrina Grdevich Allison
Lily Knight Paralegal
Lacey Kohl Louisa
Julene Renee Jessica

Technical Credits
Steven Shainberg Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Jon Ailetcher Sound/Sound Designer
Angelo Badalamenti Score Composer
Michael Baker Set Decoration/Design
Jamie Beardsley Executive Producer
Michael Boran Executive Producer
Marjorie Bowers Costumes/Costume Designer
Amy Danger Production Designer
Steven Fierberg Cinematographer
Andrew Fierberg Producer
Kiran Gonsalves Asst. Director
Amy Hobby Producer
Vince Maggio Asst. Director
Michael Murray Set Decoration/Design
Ellen Parks Casting
Joel Posner Executive Producer
P.J. Posner Executive Producer
Nick Ralbovsky Art Director
Michael Roban Executive Producer
Beth Amy Rosenblatt Musical Direction/Supervision
Tom Varga Sound/Sound Designer
Erin Cressida Wilson Screenwriter
Pam Wise Editor
Jonathan Wolff Sound/Sound Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Six Months Earlier [3:57]
2. Welcome Home [4:48]
3. Avoid Temptation [3:35]
4. The Lawyer [5:04]
5. Closed Tight [3:32]
6. Green Thumb [3:50]
7. Trap [2:57]
8. Fine [7:11]
9. Helpful Suggestions [4:09]
10. Insight [7:10]
11. Research [6:21]
12. Good Letter [2:57]
13. Set Free [4:28]
14. Need [4:45]
15. No More [3:34]
16. Affected [4:02]
17. My Office [6:17]
18. Reprimanded [2:45]
19. Questions [5:44]
20. First Step [5:09]
21. Palms Down [3:56]
22. Women's Struggle [3:43]
23. Feels Right [6:25]
24. Credits [4:28]


Customer Reviews

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Secretary 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
James Spader and Megan Gyllenhall couldn't be better in this movie. 'Secretary' gives both sides of the D/s relationship that makes it honorable...not the way society, in general, defines it. Her willingness to do whatever he wants/says and his gentle way of dominance holds the viewer. The bridal dress scenario shows how truly strong submission can be, and is. This movie is a beautiful representation of the D/s relationship.
Guest More than 1 year ago
James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal are excellent in this dark comedy about dysfunction at home AND at the work place. If you're a James Spader fan, he does not disappoint. He's a bit closer to his ''2 Days in the Valley'' persona than say his ''sex, lies and videotape'' character. Maggie's high-pitched voice can be a bit grating at first, but it's great for her shy, beaten down, self-mutilating character. Lesley Ann Warren is perfect as the high-strung, overprotective mother. You see Lesley Ann's character, as well as the alcoholic father, and have no doubts about why Lee Holloway ended up in a mental institution. Hats off also to Jeremy Davies, who often plays sheepish, fly-on-the-wall-type characters, as he did in ''Saving Private Ryan,'' among others. Here, he finally plays a more out-going character (but it takes a while to recognize him with all that facial hair). At the end of the movie, with all its slapping, crying, laughing, cutting and eroticism, you're left with the feeling that there's someone for everyone, no matter how messed up you be inside.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This film is got to be the best sex movie i have ever lay my penis on... i mean my eyes! I watched it seven times and it is awesome. This is better than Boogie Nights, and American Pie 1 & 2! I would recomand this film to anyone who like this kind of film or vice versa!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the main characters are not the 'norm' for a BDSM couple, the actors put forth an excellent portrail of the submission of Miss Hollowell and the subtle domination techniques that an effective, albeit reluctant, dominate could use. Spellbinding and intriguing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Erotic yet heartfelt, both Spader & Gyllenhaal captivate with their performances and chemistry. This film takes you into the a world of self-deprecation, masochism, and redemption in the dark struggle for love the characters share. Hysterically funny, disturbing and sexy. This is a breakthrough performance for Gyllenhaal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Made me wonder why certain "actors" making entertainment headlines are commanding big bucks for their roles in movies. These two are REAL actors and do not get the recognition they so deserve.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Director, Steven Shainberg does an accurate and sensitive look at the journey into light for two people naturally drawn to the lifestyle of dominace and submission, the need for pleasure in pain and the sway of control. The movie is beautifuly cast with James Spader giving a strong and passionate performance of a man struggling with deep inner need. Playing against that is Maggie Gyllenhaal who stands up to that passion by yielding to her own desires. The movie is sexual and emotional warm and real. I felt like cheering at last a movie for a girl just like me!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maggie Gyllenhaal's raw and fitting performance in Secretary is nothing short of brilliant. The complicated and demanding characters of Lee and Mr. Grey are so thoughtfully acted by Gyllenhaal and James Spader, and it is genuinely captured on film. This profoundly powerful, erotic, and humorous romantic coming of age story causes one to empathize with the initial darkness in which Lee and Mr. Grey are experiencing. And from this, ensues a truly original and challenging, yet entertaining film that conveys the humanity of its characters in a way that most films of similar genre fall short of exploring. A very well executed, sexy, thought-provoking movie that leaves a welcomed, warm, stirring feeling inside.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We thought the movie was o-kay and I wouldn't let my husband change the channel once we started watching it, but I was surprised to see it was up for an award at the Sundance Film Festival. I had never even heard of the movie before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this movie was so sultry and sexy, it left me breathless! It showed how some people are submissive to point of not being able to fully function without someone dominating them. This is not a bad thing when both parties are agreeable. The dominate partner (Spader) didn't try to humilate the submissive partner (Gyllenhaal)and he truly, truly loved her. It wasn't just some enormous ego trip for him. This is a great, steamy movie and the performances of both James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal were excellent as well as very intense! Kudos all around!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Erotically spell binding! I have to find more info on the subject now that my interest is peaked.
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