Friday, 29 September 2017

Secretary (2002)

Lee Holloway is an emotionally sensitive young woman who uses self-harm to cope with her feelings of awkwardness and isolation.  After learning to type, she wins the job of secretary of uptight lawyer E. Edward Grey.  Grey warns her that the work is dull, but Lee simply answers that she "likes dull".

It soon becomes clear that Grey is sexually aroused by Lee's compliant and obedient nature; an arousal he attempts to quell with vigorous exercise.  After he becomes aware of her self-harm, however, he orders her to stop, and the pair begin a BDSM relationship.  Unfortunately, Grey remains deeply conflicted by his own desires, and this quickly becomes a threat to their relationship and the happiness Lee has found in it.

Secretary is a film full of awkward, uncomfortable moments between two awkward, uncomfortable people, but - provided you're okay with the BDSM elements, and if you're not you probably won't be watching it to begin with - it's also a quite touching romance.  The two main cast members are both very strong, and do a great job of conveying the tension and passion between their characters.  I do think the film overplays things a bit in the final act, which undercuts the impact a little, but overall it's quite effective: I found it easy to like both parties and to hope for their happiness together.

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