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Thoughts on "Secretary."

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Thoughts on "Secretary."

Old 12-08-03, 02:52 AM
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Thoughts on "Secretary."

I just watched this. What did others think of it? Is there a much more deeper meaning to the film and characters than I am getting out of it?

I found the first 2/3 to be interesting, but the last 20-30 mins--from about the point when he fired her--took a strange turn. But maybe I'm not "getting it" beyond what I simply see.

Thoughts on the film?
Old 12-08-03, 04:47 AM
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Other than really being turned-on by Maggie G., I thought it was an average film.
Old 12-08-03, 05:22 AM
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http://www.funnyheck.com/spanksecretary.html
Old 12-08-03, 06:52 AM
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Originally posted by David_M
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Nice
Old 12-08-03, 07:44 AM
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I rather liked it.

Plot discussed, so spoiler used.
Spoiler:
I thought that it could have, very easily, gone too far or not far enough into the 'fetish' part of it [although fetish isn't quite the right word], but it seemed to strike a good balance. I really liked watching Lee realize that she didn't have to cut herself anymore and that while she was different, that didn't really make her abnormal. She has as much to be happy as anyone else does, it just takes finding the right person, who is out there. Same thing with Mr Gray--for him it was uncontrollable, but he wanted to control it because he felt like he 'should.' Coming out and attempting to apologize to Lee took a lot of strength. I couldn't decide if the test Gray put Lee through ['don't move until I come back] was him being a a-hole, or him using that time to make his own decision also ['Am I worthy of love?"]
And yes, Maggie G was very cute in it, her naivete at the beginning brought out a very protective urge.
I don't know if it is 'one of the year's best films', but it was definitely different without being titillating, and showed each character as more than the sum of their 'interests.'
Old 12-08-03, 09:29 AM
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The movie gets a little weird during the test. Everything else is realistic, including the ending. So I prefer to think that a lot of that is Lee's fantasy. Even Albuquerque TV wouldn't send a reporter on the scene for that story (no child was endangered).
Old 12-08-03, 09:43 AM
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Originally posted by Nick Danger
The movie gets a little weird during the test. Everything else is realistic, including the ending. So I prefer to think that a lot of that is Lee's fantasy. Even Albuquerque TV wouldn't send a reporter on the scene for that story (no child was endangered).
That kind of bothered me too, plotwise. It lasted a total of three days, which in the grand scheme of things isn't that long a time; but it sure seemed like a lot of people found out quick. Lee obviously didn't tell anyone, so who did? I can see it being fantasy--a somewhat romantic, martyring effort, that doesn't actually *harm* her. And after all, I've read that when people do things like Lee [and Gray, to an extent], one of the main things they're seeking is attention.
Old 12-08-03, 11:12 AM
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i was mesmerized by Maggie Gyllenhaal..........no idea why but i couldn't turn away from this movie
Old 12-09-03, 12:05 AM
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I thought it was awful. I think James Spader is one of the creepiest looking people I've ever seen on the screen.

Spoiler:
For me, the plot was very drawn out and required many suspensions of disbelief. I mean, its one thing to have a mutual attraction at the workplace, but from the way he went about his perversions, you'd think that one of his secretaries would have screamed "rape" a long time ago.


Everything seemed so cartoonish for me, I couldn't take it seriously.
Old 12-09-03, 01:14 AM
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Originally posted by David_M
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http://www.funnyheck.com/spanksecretary.html
This thread has been brought to you by the letter X.

Last edited by FuzzyBallz; 12-09-03 at 01:18 AM.
Old 12-09-03, 07:04 AM
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Originally posted by Ayo
I thought it was awful. I think James Spader is one of the creepiest looking people I've ever seen on the screen.


No disagreement here : )

Originally posted by Ayo
Spoiler:
For me, the plot was very drawn out and required many suspensions of disbelief. I mean, its one thing to have a mutual attraction at the workplace, but from the way he went about his perversions, you'd think that one of his secretaries would have screamed "rape" a long time ago.

True, but
Spoiler:
people do let a lot of things happen before they say anything, if ever. Most domestic abuse cases, for instance, aren't isolated incidents, rather a long history of occasions until "finally" the 'last straw is broken.' Especially in this case, when he didn't actually 'rape' anybody. I think he eased into it with each person, until they reached their breaking point and quit. Plus, remember, this was an ongoing thing [the permanent sign?], so apparently he went through secretaries like other people do kleenex. And in the hiring interview, I think he could tell something about the kind of person he was interviewing--he wouldn't hire someone who would Mace him the first time he touched her, but he might hire someone who would require a bit more breaking down. That was part of the thrill for him, I think, not only the control, but the breaking down of the person, to submit under his control. In fact, that's one of the reasons he originally 'fired' Lee, he found out she liked it, and he couldn't deal with that. Plus Lee let him go a lot farther than anyone else, I'm sure, so what we saw with Lee, didn't happen with everyone. Besides, he's probably hiring people with little self-esteem and self-confidence anyway, which would make them think 'Who would believe me?' if they thought about telling him. With Lee, we see Gray finding a kindred spirit, where the interests match, safely, for both of them. If we had seen Gray with an 'average' person, I think we would think he was just a predatory a-hole.
Old 12-09-03, 04:23 PM
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I didn't like it, I didn't find any of the s&m stuff sexy, so I didn't have that going, I didn't really buy into any of the romance, and to top it off, it wasn't really all that funny to me, overall I was left feeling sort of depressed about the whole movie
Old 12-09-03, 09:14 PM
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I thought a lot of the ending was her imagination. I liked it a lot, but I've always liked Mary Gaitskill stories and James Spader, so I thought it was a perfect mix.
Old 01-03-04, 10:34 AM
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I liked it. The suicide/abuse/S&M/control stuff was appealing to me from the beginning anyway, so I think that's why I was into it. And I think with the right people, I could actually see a situation like the one in the film unfolding. And I thought the ending
Spoiler:
where you see "the real" person behind the controlling bastard finally come out and have a real conversation
was a great touch.

I saw it used at Blockbuster for 9.99 and bought it, but I definitely wouldn't consider it one of the top DVD's in my collection.
Old 01-03-04, 03:07 PM
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I thought it was horrible
Old 01-03-04, 05:54 PM
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Great offbeat and twisted love story, IMHO. The anti-Julia Roberts kind of movie.
Old 01-03-04, 07:44 PM
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Not sure exactly what is considered a spoiler around here so I am going to spoiler text everything.

Spoiler:
It is one of my very favorite movies. I enjoyed the romance and appreciated that they found happiness being more themselves, not less. There was no "I got to change my evil ways," they were able to revel in what they really wanted, regardless of what people thought about it, which I found to be oddly very touching. The movie could have gone wrong on so many levels, but, in my opinion, it avoided all the possible pitfalls. James and Maggie were also exceptional in this movie. Hmm, I kind of want to go pop the dvd in right now.

Last edited by onebyone; 01-03-04 at 07:47 PM.
Old 01-03-04, 08:08 PM
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I liked the film...
Old 01-04-04, 10:45 PM
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Originally posted by David_M
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Old 01-05-04, 10:21 AM
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Old 01-10-04, 05:39 PM
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Re: Thoughts on "Secretary."

Originally posted by PacMan2006
Is there a much more deeper meaning to the film and characters than I am getting out of it?
Possibly..

It's a story about power dynamics in a relationship - but it goes beyond the spanking and physical control.

Spoiler:
The girl is the abusee, the lawyer is the abuser. They are not capable of having healthy, normal relationships, and must act out their emotional unstability through these mutually hurtful relationships. Obviously, the girl has had a painful past, and is not capable of sticking up for herself to the lawyer when he makes the bizarre demands of her. And the lawyer only hires secretaries that he can abuse, control, and command. And eventually, as most relationships like these go, he splits with his secretaries. And the cycle continues. That's why I thought the ending was a nice touch. Because they show the characters breaking out of this viscious cycle, and actually showing real love, and having a real, normal, healthy conversation (the part I'm talking about is when she asks him where he is from, and he says Iowa).

Last edited by CUBuffsMike41; 01-10-04 at 08:39 PM.
Old 01-10-04, 08:19 PM
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I am torn on this movie. There are parts of it I like, and no not just the Maggie parts . I just really don't agree with what it says about S&M really. I find it quite interesting that a fair amount of the BDSM community has somewhat embraced this movie. I guess I can see how it is a good thing for them that there is a mainstream presence of their "kink", but I just don't get how they can agree with what this movie says about it.

***this might get a little spoilerish, but not enough that I am going to spoiler tag the whole section***

Watching the movie you are supposed to think that Maggie has overcome her cutting, but in reality all she did was replace it with something else...granted physically this is better for her. A crutch is a crutch is a crutch. She becomes overly obsessed with James Spader too IMO.

I also think he is too much of a nutbag in this. He is way too overly controlling. And I am not talking about his spanking her and what not, that is normal for a lot of people (not in the workplace but the bedroom), I am mainly referring to the red sharpies and such.

I also have a big problem with the last 1/3-1/4 of the movie. His whole "test" of her was ridiculous. All those people would not come to see her nor would it be made into this media thing either. When I was watching it the first time I thought it was all in her head, which would make it better IMO, but I really don't think it is supposed to be. They took something that was somewhat realistic and definitely feasible and took it too out there.

This has made me interested in the short story it was based on though, I am curious if it is that similar to the movie. One day I will search it out.
Old 01-11-04, 01:12 AM
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Originally posted by fnordboy

I also have a big problem with the last 1/3-1/4 of the movie. His whole "test" of her was ridiculous. All those people would not come to see her nor would it be made into this media thing either. When I was watching it the first time I thought it was all in her head, which would make it better IMO, but I really don't think it is supposed to be. They took something that was somewhat realistic and definitely feasible and took it too out there.


Yeah, I thought they 'Hollywoodized' too much in the last act.

For a better version of the story watch The Piano Teacher.
Old 01-11-04, 01:18 PM
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It went no where. It was pretty slow and boring as well. Had some interesting ideas, but just went no where IMO

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