Secretary

Some movies are like old acquaintances. You visit them because they are fun, because they make you feel happy when you are a little blue or to spend  time with when you feel alone.
Dante’s Peak (1997), Cruel Intentions (1997), One from the Heart (1982) and Twister (1997) are some of these old and trusted friends. These movies tell a great story nicely wrapped in action, drama and love. No, they are not art but they make me feel good or help me unwind.

Watching Dante’s Peak, for example, lying comfy under a soft fleece on my sofa, drinking hot Choco while outside a cold and howling wind batters the rain against the windows makes me feel very cosy when my mind is restless or when I feel bad due to a cold or so.

I have added a new movie to this list albeit the reason why is a different one.

Secretary (2002) with Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader (as Mr. Grey) is a movie about a young woman who’s recently released from a mental hospital.  Lee (Maggie Gyllenhaal) gets a job as a secretary to a demanding lawyer. Their employer-employee relationship turns into a sexual, sadomasochistic one.
I love this film for various reasons. With the exception of Histoire d’O (1975) I don’t know any other good and interesting movie about our lifestyle. By the way, Histoire d’O is more about a Master/slave relationship and I find it visually a very hot and arousing movie.

A few decades ago, when I attended film school, one of the lecturers, a Sam Peckinpah fan, told us one needed to vision a movie several times. The first time for the movie as a whole and the next few times for the music, montage, camera movements… There lies some truth in this statement and I agree but only for serious and high quality movies.

I’ve seen Secretary a few times and I hope to watch it again soon, this time with Princess.

Gyllenhaal’s secretary character, Lee Holloway, transcends the stereotypical submissive, and Spader’s powerful lawyer uses dominance to mask his own insecurities. He is afraid of letting her come to close. On the other hand he longs for her touch.

Secretary

Lee has a history of hurting herself (cutting, mental institutions, alcoholic father, over caring mother etc.) but finds freedom and empowerment in submission at his hands. Mr. Grey tests her with sexual games, pushing her to the limits of a love he feels he’ll never deserve. In acceptance of the exquisite intimacy of his pain, Lee finally lets go of her own.

 Their relationship is bizarre, unusual and passionate in equal measure. Secretary is, in a very positive way, a weird little film. A relief too in a culture where, even in 2014, being (sexually) different is reason enough for discrimination in some way or another.

Secretary is very real, showing sometimes painfully awkward desires like the longing for connection through shared fetishes, but with intense beauty and compassion.

Some of the scenes where Mr. Grey shows his intense dedication and treats and worships Lee and her body as a precious jewel move me each time to tears. I find them very recognizable as I do exactly the same with Princess. Bathing Princess or washing her hair and drying it makes me so very happy and fills my heart with fathomless tenderness for the love of my life.

The fact the secretary is pictured as someone who has a background of mental illness is, in my opinion, the only negative aspect of this movie. It could create the, obviously wrong, prejudice the BDSM lifestyle is populated with people who have (mental or other) issues.

Secretary

8 thoughts on “Secretary”

    1. Hello Vile, indeed, The Pet (2006). I saw the movie a few years ago and found the idea hot and loved the devotion. The film itself, acting, cinematics et al is so bad I guess the film finally left my memory.

  1. Secretary is one of my favourite erotic films, which I agree is, for the most part, a very nuanced approach to a D/s relationship. I think Spader and Gyllenhaal have a very intense and yet understated chemistry.

    Speaking of Spader, have you seen David Cronenberg’s Crash?

    Great post…

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