Tuesday 31 July 2007

Secretary (2002) - ickleReview (TV)

Maggie Gyllenhaal plays a self-harmer who becomes a submissive secretary James Spader's domineering lawyer boss. To most women his bullying and sexual conduct would be criminal harassment; but for her it replaces her habit of self-harm and gives her confidence.

Gyllenhaal is brilliant at all the nervous ticks of a young woman who has been through a lot of therapy. She is soft and fragile but has a wicked side.

This really could be a short film but it is inflated with reasonable success to feature length. In an interview for FilmFour, Gyllenhaal confesses that neither she nor the director Steven Shainberg knew what the ending would be when they undertook the project, and indeed that shows as part of the film's weakness, without really spoiling so much what has gone before.

Nugget: not the film I was expecting from the poster. A notably strong performance by Gyllenhaal.

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