Movie Talk -- Secretary (2002)

in Stars4 months ago

Secretary is the story of Lee Holloway (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) in the early years of her adulthood. Some may say this is a cheap trick, but I contend there is a greater level of artistry at play here. It is, I think, a strange love story between two obscure people.

This movie is directed by Steven Shainberg. The other main actor is James Spader, who plays the lawyer boss to Gyllenhaal's secretary. At one point, in getting to know one another, Spader admits:

I overcome my shyness to get things done.

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The movie opens with Lee Holloway being released from a psychiatric institution. She attends her sister's wedding the same day. During the backyard festivities, she sneaks off to her bedroom. From her closet she draws out a small wooden box that has been hand-decorated. She opens the box and reveals a line-up of razors, knives, and other sharp instruments. She punctures herself. This moment reveals her tendencies toward self-hurt and masochism.

I argue that Secretary is a fulfillment myth for the present-day masochist woman.

I'm not going to highly recommend this movie, though it is interesting and different. Check it out if you're so inclined.


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