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Secretary 8/10

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Couldn't find a review for this underseen delight that is arguably the best comedy of the year.

SECRETARY is an unprecendented black comedy that truly shows love has no rules. I Found this film to be original, eccentric and amusing entertainment. An adult comedy that is written for mature/open minds with an appreciation for quirky cinema.

The film is bold and daring while always eering on the side of subtelty and tenderness. Never sensationlizing its subject matter, rather being savvy enough to go beneath the surface and discover the motivations behind the nature of unconventional desire and lust..

Not for everyone this Romantic comedy creates two fabulous charecters who, though very different from ourselves can be understood and empathized with. There's is a taboo love that at first seems strange and possibly sinful, but ends up being beautiful and touching.

The performances are the key and Maggie Gyllenhaal excels in a brave and difficlt performance. Truly the best female lead charecter ive seen in years. James Spader too is superb blending his usual menace with a gentler and less confident side.

The director and writers obviously understood there main charecters and paint a very vivid portrait of unconventional love. Making sure the final shot of the film drills home its point by highlighting how different their world is from ours, but showing that each individual needs different things but aspires to the same happiness.

Wonderful entertainment.
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Secretary B+

The problem with Secretary was that it tried to do more with itself than it needed to. It had wonderful, wonderful moments, and inspired performances, but overall it just tried to do more with itself emotionally than I felt it had to.
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Yeah, Secretary is great, especially when it comes to the different way in which the director present us such a subject of a black comedy, a way full of bright, warm colors, instead of depression and darkness. The film helps us find a brand new perspective to scrutinize what was used to be regarded as the dark side of humanity, and now shall be labelled as natural side, and makes us believe life to everybody is hopeful.Spader's performance is wonderful. Yet, I am hard-pressed to say Maggie seems to go too far from what her charactor shall actually be. Her performance always makes me a little bit uncomfortable, in other words, in some part she seems to remind me "It is only a movie, it is not true" Anyway, it is an excellent movie that I've ever seen.



It was beauty killed the beast.
Kong felt Maggie Gyleenhall's performance was one of the best of that year. Brave, and resonant.

Kong also agrees with the general sentiment of SilverBullet. Nevertheless it was a very good film.
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Anyway, it is an excellent movie that I've ever seen.


Yeah, you're an idiot.



Originally Posted by The Silver Bullet


Yeah, you're an idiot.
Hey Barbarian, who do you think you are?



Female assassin extraordinaire.
sorry silver bullet, but this movie obviously made me come out of the desert to make some comments so, I say this movie did just what it should have and didn't try to make more of itself than it was. if anything it downplayed quite a lot (think of Exit to Eden) and was subtle, deep, and mesmerizing for me.

i do agree, sometimes maggie g. broke me out of the moment - i think because she was too cock-sure in the second half of the film and in a way that made spader seem less in control, less an authority, which sort of defeats the purpose. deflates the hold he has over her because she keeps acting like she wants this - in some ways that denies a true sado-masochistic relationship because she wasn't showing enough of the dichotomy - she lives to make him happy and should FEAR reprisals, not eagerly chase them down without any signs of true angst.

i also didn't like the opening scene (a later scene). which the director said he added to help make audiences comfortable so they knew something "exciting" was going to happen and they wouldn't be too jarred. bad choice - it deflates the mystery and shock of what our heroine feels because we know exactly what's going to happen to her and we don't feel it along with her quite the same way because we know in advance where she's going to end up, at least part way through the movie (we don't know the final conclusion).

anyway, here's my netflix review:

My review contains vague SPOILERS I don't really give much away but the spirit of the work. //

I believe this movie is near flawless, in its depiction of the existential struggle against and need for dysfunction in our lives, and the need to find the perfect partner to both feed and curb that craving, to give us light in the darkness of our own self doubt, of our fear of the world, our fear of ourselves.

I watched the Director's Commentary, immediately after watching the movie - I have NEVER done that for a film before. I stayed up til 4 am, which is how much it moved me. I wanted to see what the director meant, how well he really understood this story, whether he truly understood the nuance. I speak as someone who understands both what it is to seek normalcy - the negative reviews here, the nervous laughers - and those who recognize that everyone has a need - the supportive reviews, the delighted passersby.

This film is not a joke, even though some absurd situations can feel funny - as humans, we laugh when we are scared, frightened, excited. And the director understood that laughter is a part of life, just as pain is. We laugh when we know, deep down, that something is true, and we don't know what to do with that knowledge. We try to laugh it away. This film held me tight, unable to laugh it away, and I remained thrilled that it would not let me go, would not let me dismiss it, would not let me think that this was just a quirky black comedy to enjoy and forget. I held my breath and could not take my eyes from the screen because I understood.

This film was dead serious in its beauty and the portrayal of the complexity of the relationship between master and slave, child and parent, boss and employee, symbiotic lovers. All relationships, truest purest relationships, are this, with or without the physical display of sadomasochism - the self-torture and doubt exist whether or not we use harnesses, paddles, or actually get down on our knees. By focusing on this particular couple and their particular need, the director and actors paint the purest diamond of completion of self that we all look for.

James Spader was stellar - frightening, hilariously beside himself, deliciously and intensely overwhelming. Maggie's transformation was exquisite, the abandon with which she accepts her true self refreshing (something most of us would never be brave enough to do), even as we watch her almost lose heaven because her match was afraid to face himself and her.

In the end, this is not just about sex, which even the director kept simplifying it as. This is about surrendering your entire being, something you've wanted all your life. It's religious, spiritual, a way of life and looking at the world, not just a kinky sexual lifestyle preference. When Spader tells her exactly how much to eat and how many peas to have on her plate - it is not immediate sexual joy she is feeling but utter relief and release. She can finally surrender control, herself, her life, everything she is, to someone she can trust to do the job, and do it right. Some people do this with God. She did this with her perfect here-on-earth compliment. If only we could all be so lucky.
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Lets put a smile on that block
Originally Posted by thmilin
James Spader was stellar - frightening, hilariously beside himself, deliciously and intensely overwhelming. Maggie's transformation was exquisite, the abandon with which she accepts her true self refreshing (something most of us would never be brave enough to do), even as we watch her almost lose heaven because her match was afraid to face himself and her.

In the end, this is not just about sex, which even the director kept simplifying it as. This is about surrendering your entire being, something you've wanted all your life. It's religious, spiritual, a way of life and looking at the world, not just a kinky sexual lifestyle preference. When Spader tells her exactly how much to eat and how many peas to have on her plate - it is not immediate sexual joy she is feeling but utter relief and release. She can finally surrender control, herself, her life, everything she is, to someone she can trust to do the job, and do it right. Some people do this with God. She did this with her perfect here-on-earth compliment. If only we could all be so lucky.
Great post thmilin. I watched this film last night and went t bed and awoke today still absoloutly flabbergasted by it. Whether it be the marajahuanahahaha that i was smoking while watching it, or the red wine i was drinking, i found myself totally amazed, horrified, intrigued and touched by Spader's and Gyllenhaal's performances and relationship that they portrayed in this film. It started off as a dark and quirky comdey, but from the moment Spader sets foot in the film and Maggie begins working at his bizarre, asian/chinese decorated office, the film became so much more. My housemate and I actually sat with our hands over our faces as Spader continued to beat Gyllenhaal's a$$ while she re-read the letter she ahd written. We were mortified of this strange and intense relationship that was unfolding before our eyes.

i cannot remember the last time i watched a film that had such a high amount of un-predictability (even a word?). At first its a strange black comedy. It then becomes quirkier once Maggie starts work, then it turns into a touching romance as the obvious affection Spader has for Maggie blossoms, ("you will never cut yourself again"). It then turns into a horrifying account of their relationship when Spader first slaps Maggie, and then onwards its a very funny black comedy which ends in an intensly bizarre but touching conclusion. I absoloutly loved it....even though it did scare me quite a bit.
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I looked at this movie from a different angle, I found the cutting as something that wasn't explained enough, usually people who cut themselves do it is to feel alive, not a sado maso thing.

The slave master thing didn't shock me at all, because I know people who do that, if that is your thing, hey.

What did people make of her relationship with her Father, I may have to watch it again,

I didn't like the ending of love overcomes all
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Good, not great. I felt them adding all of that nudity at the end, after everything was resolved, to be a bit needless to the point of the story. Though looking at Maggie in the buff, wasn't that bad.
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A system of cells interlinked
Why doesn't Thmilin have like 5 or 6 green dots?

Amazing post.

sent points your way....
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Originally Posted by Sedai
Why doesn't Thmilin have like 5 or 6 green dots?
Because 99.999% of her posts came before the user reputation system.
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Female assassin extraordinaire.
Dude I know i'm answering this like a year later ... hehehe. Chris is mad at me, I never have much time to come back to this site much even though it's my first love. Sorry I never replied to your support here.

Thanks much for it!! It's true, Chris added that rep thingie after, and now I'm mad. Thanks Sedai for the points! Now i have ONE dot! muhahaha.

Chris uses this as an example of why i should come back and give him more reviews. ugh. so demanding ....



Originally Posted by thmilin
... Chris is mad at me, I never have much time to come back to this site much even though it's my first love.
Don't worry about the green one being mad, I'm mad at you If we are your first love, what kind of a romance do you call this



Best movie of 2002.
thmilin's review was spot-on, although I disagree with some of the observations made in the post above.
Not all submissives fear reprisals, and some might like to make a game of it (they're called SAMs (Smart Ass Masochists)). Yeah, on one level what she's doing is manipulative, but for the purpose of the movie I thought it was cute and funny. It also shows the truth that, as in many BDSM relationships, it is the submissive who ultimately has the power.

Spader was outstanding as always and Maggie is just beautiful. I'm too tired to write more.



Originally Posted by Prospero
, although I disagree with some of the observations made in the post above..
I hope you don't think I am really angry with thilim, it was my sarcastic way of saying I miss thilim



Originally Posted by nebbit
I hope you don't think I am really angry with thilim, it was my sarcastic way of saying I miss thilim
That was a testament as to how tired I was last night. I didn't mean your post; I was referring to thilm's post abve her review, where she made some comments about Secretary that I disagree with.

(I hope I'm correct in assuming that thilm is of the fairer sex. If not, sorry 'bout that!



chicagofrog's Avatar
history *is* moralizing
Originally Posted by nebbit
I looked at this movie from a different angle, I found the cutting as something that wasn't explained enough, usually people who cut themselves do it is to feel alive, not a sado maso thing.
in my humble opinion, it's what sado-masochism is all about. one is masochistic because one wanna feel alive, and doesn't find or, more often than not, is not given, any other possibility of feeling so.
that's why this movie is sadly beautiful and beautifully sad, even if as a pessimistic dude, i may interpret the ending as just a momentary one. after all, we all know happiness doesn't last forever.
some of us even may know it's difficult to make it last one day. or one night.



Kaiser "The Devil" Soze
I don't know.... I didn't think much of this movie sorry guys just couldn't get into the plot.
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