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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » Secretary

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Author Topic: Secretary
Celtic Daisy
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Member # 2971

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I just saw this movie and I thought it was excellent!

Of course the situation isn't entirely realistic, but I thought it was good that a movie about S&M finally came out into relative mainstream and was done so well.

I love Maggie Gyllenhaal, and I thought she did a great job in this. I got really involved with both characters and my emotions were up and down through the whole thing and I couldn't stop smiling at the end.

I thought it was interesting, in a little commentary how the directer said he'd explained his idea to people, and they would always say, "So in the end she overcomes, right? She gets over this thing?" and he goes, "Well, no, that's what the movies about, how it's not something to overcome, how it's not so weird afterall."

Anywho, anyone else seen this? Any thoughts?

And as stupid as this sounds after being here for so many years...Is this the best forum for this?
'You've got the eyes of ten women. Not in a jar! I wasn't accusing you. I just mean your eyes are really nice'-coupling

Erin Jane
~Scarleteen Advocate~

[This message has been edited by Celtic Daisy (edited 06-21-2003).]

Posts: 1747 | From: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I saw Secretary and I loved it! I found it to be so sweet. As soon as I rented the movie I went back to the store and bought the movie. The S & M aspect of the movie was interesting to me. I tried to get my friend to watch it and she flatly refused because of the S&M content. I finally wore her down to rent it and she found herself misty eyed at the end.
Posts: 11 | From: Georgia | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
i am a cat
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I've been meaning to rent this one - Maybe next time I go to the video store!

"Why should I have to be a skinny pencil?
I'd rather be a happy magic marker."

- Natalie on "Facts of Life"

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To bump a thread almost four years old... I remember seeing this thread back when it was started and wanting to watch the film. I've now watched Secretary 4-5 times, sharing it with friends, and it's definitely a favorite. (Although I realized it's not necessarily the best "first date" movie for me to show, despite whatever other activities were going on during the date or how open the person is!)

I really like the vivid imagery (the bright, interesting clothing and the bed of grass for one) and the message. I interpreted it as, "there is a wide spectrum of what's 'normal' or 'ok' when it comes to a mutually positive relationship." [Smile]

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How funny is that ? I actually had that movie among my DVD collection but never actually watched that movie before. It's so huge that I got dozen of movies which I haven't even had time to watch yet. [Smile] So since Ecofem brought it up and it seemed like an interesting movie I did decided to watch it, which I just did tonight.
(And thanks for broughting it up Lena, without you I probably wouldn't have watched it)

Here's what I thought of it personnally.

Although I really liked the movie overall (that's the type of movie I like : thoughtful movies just like the Magdalene sisters, spare me the list there), the beginning of it was for me I have to say.... scary. And even throughout the movie... I was just hating all along the principal actor in the movie because of what he was doing to the girl. (I know it's S&M, I guess I just don't understand it) I was just wishing I could do something to stop that.

It was a hard movie to watch for me. I mean, it shocked me. It's probably not supposed to but it did. I don't quite know why cause it's only S&M and it's not like actual violence or anything like that but try to tell my mind that. [Smile]

You probably all think I'm crazy or something. [Smile] So I think I'm gonna end just right here.

[ 03-07-2007, 10:07 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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Posts: 3598 | From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Neat that you saw the movie after reading about it here, cool. [Smile] I think you bring up a very valid point regarding the SM-elements/violence/what have you in the film.

His* behavior, especially as her** boss, was completely inappropriate and sexual harassment to say the least, since it went far beyond "just" words. You wonder about the previous secretaries he fired; was he doing the same thing to them or did they leave because was so strict and anal (for lack of better words.) Things worked out in the story, but that situation in real life would be terrible.

However, one could argue that, while Secretary's definitely not a Disney movie at all, they both are rather fantasy-film-love-stories complete with happy fairy tale endings. [Smile]

* E. Edward Grey, Esquire as played by James Spader
** Lee as portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal

[ 03-08-2007, 08:55 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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I expected to like Secretary, but when I eventually rented it, I was mightily dissapointed. Sure, it was a visually interesting movie with excellent actors, but apart from that, it just irked me.

Self-Injury was portraited as being similar in nature to S&D, there was a total absence of communication between the two about what they were doing and the HappyEnd was a 24/7 S/D-Relationship.

To me, every scene screamed 'unhealthy' and 'mysogynistic' at me; so much, that I couldn't watch it a second time, even though I tried.


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I first watched this movie probably in February or March; I know it was a while ago, at least. I thought it was great, beyond just the visuals and mechanics of the movie. Before I saw it, I was actually very disturbed by BDSM; I couldn’t understand how such a thing could be a part of a healthy relationship or help two people express love for one another. I saw the movie, though, and not only did it change my mind, but I did a complete-180; through a few months of careful self-examination, research and thought, I’ve slowly been coming to terms with the fact that I’m a kink, myself. It was refreshing to see characters who, while decidedly odd, were not too unlike regular people, were dealing with their own issues, and used S&M as a cleansing/healing element in their lives.

Originally posted by alaska:

Self-Injury was portraited as being similar in nature to S&D, there was a total absence of communication between the two about what they were doing and the HappyEnd was a 24/7 S/D-Relationship.

To me, every scene screamed 'unhealthy' and 'mysogynistic' at me.

…Now see, I think I might have to disagree with you there. Setting aside my like of the movie and viewing it from an objective standpoint, I don’t think the movie portrayed self-injury in a similar nature at all. The first thing Grey tells her after he finds out about it is that she is to stop doing it. It’s portrayed as a sort of evil from the past; a demon that haunts and looms over her character. When he ends the cycle, though, it’s like she’s free from it—her walk through the park is like a breath of fresh air to her, like a walk of freedom. I feel like the movie showed the cutting and the BDSM as totally separate entities, the former ending as the latter was barely beginning.

As far as the ‘total absence of communication’, I do think the movie sets a rather bad example there in that it never shows them discussing their relationship or their feelings, but part of the reason for that is that that’s just who they are: both characters are closed-off, isolated, sad people, and their relationship was just beginning during the movie. They fact, though, that they carry out all those activities—like in the opening scene—is evidence enough that they communicate plenty; it does, after all, take a lot of discussion to preserve a relationship of that nature. So do I think they communicate? Yes, definitely. Do I think the movie could have showed it more? Absolutely. In fact, it should have shown it more to show that they were evolving as people, but it managed to demonstrate that by the fact that they seemed quite content at the end.

As for the “HappyEnd” being a 24/7 D/s relationship, what’s the matter with that? That’s what they were after for the duration of the movie; that was what made them happiest. I really thought it was a nice ending, actually. There’s nothing misogynistic about it, in fact, I might argue that it’s very female-positive: after all, it’s her choice to be involved in the relationship. As Ecofem mentioned above, it started out as sexual harassment, but it became something she realized she wanted and willingly participated in. Not to mention the fact that she barged into Grey’s office and essentially demanded that he take her back—that to me showed her as having a sort of inward strength. She was sexually manipulative—the worm and then the beetle at the end—and seemed to pull the strings of the relationship throughout most of the film. I thought it was anything but misogynistic, which is half the reason why I decided to open my mind to the lifestyle and the people involved in it.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Take ‘em, leave ‘em, add to ‘em, whatever. Just know that I thought it was a very good movie. [Smile]

"People take different
roads seeking fulfillment
and happiness. Just because they're
not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost."
-H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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