Premiere - 09/01/2002
"...[A] pleasingly twisted black comedy....Gyllenhaal is an absolute revelation in the title role -- brave, goofy, and ultimately, mind-boggingly sexy..."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 09/01/2002
"...[Gyllenhall] gives a performance of remarkable gutsiness....[She] plays her role with sensuality as well as sensitivity..."
Film Comment - 09/01/2002
"...Spader hasn't shown so much twisted depth since SEX, LIES, AND VIDEOTAPE, and Gyllenhaal's performance is a dynamic force to be reckoned with..."
New York Times - 09/20/2002
"...SECRETARY, a small groundbreaking comedy, is a contemporary Cinderella story with a kink and a wink..."
Los Angeles Times - 09/20/2002
"...SECRETARY is a genial romance that maintains a surprisingly buoyant tone throughout..."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/27/2002
"...There's a word for an actress who can go from nervous to winsome to raunchy to romantic in a heartbeat and get you to adore her the whole time. The word is star..."
USA Today - 09/27/2002
"...SECRETARY is just too original to be ignored..."
Rolling Stone - 10/03/2002
"...A film of startling humor and feeling....Spader and Gyllenhaal are electric, bringing SECRETARY all the power and compassion it needs..."
Sight and Sound - 06/01/2003
"...Essentially this is a two-hander, with Spader and Gyllenhaal playing off each other superbly..."
The masochist says to the sadist, "Hurt me." The sadist replies, "No." Everybody's happy. This strange balance plays heavily into the Steven Shainberg-directed SECRETARY, based on a short story by Mary Gaitskill. Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a troubled young woman with a secret, destructive addiction fueled by her mother's overprotectiveness and her father's alcoholism. Sheltered and wholly dependent on other people, Lee's only form of self-expression is in this private, painful habit. That is, until she meets her new boss, the lawyer E. Edward Gray (James Spader), who hires her as his secretary. It is exciting for Lee to hold down a job, even if she is a basket case in the office. Mr. Gray watches Lee, studies her, and slowly begins to correct both her typing errors and her personality flaws. At first Mr. Gray's dominance appears scary and overbearing, a true threat to Lee's naive, fragile psyche. But as the film carefully develops these unique characters, revealing their odd strengths and weaknesses, it becomes delightfully clear that Lee and Mr. Gray can genuinely help each other. SECRETARY is a bright, atmospheric movie that shines a light on the "fun" in this dysfunctional relationship, while using brilliant performances by Gyllenhaal and Spader to illustrate the benefits of sadomasochistic love.
Theatrical Release: SEPTEMBER 20, 2002 (NY/LA) OCTOBER 4, 2002 (EXPANDS)