While reading about 50 shades of grey I came across this movie online. That's the beauty of the internet, you start at one end of a topic and end up somewhere else.

The Secretary released in 2002. It has been directed by Steven Shainberg and stars James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

When I turned on the movie I didn't know what it was about. But seeing Maggie so young and James Spader warmed the cockles of my heart. And it gets better.

Lee, played by Maggie, was sent to a hospital for the mentally ill when she cuts herself too deep with the knife. She comes from an unhappy family where her father is an alcoholic and abusive to her mother. She tries to deal with the unhappiness by cutting herself with knives, scissors etc. The physical pain takes her mind off the emotional pain. Once out of the hospital, she goes to the office of Edgar Grey, played by James Spader, for a job for secretary. Grey is a lawyer with a tacky looking office. He is very weird and readily gives Maggie the job.
Grey is a dominant, sadistic man while Maggie is a submissive, silent, shy, wallflower kind of person. They are made for each other. The boss-secretary relationship soon becomes about BDSM (bondage, dominance, submission, masochism) but it does not involve sex at all. 
He spanks Maggie, makes her walk on all her fours like a dog, puts a saddle on her etc etc. It's actually funny and not offensive at all. 
Maggie enjoys all of it. Pain now becomes a source of pleasure for her and she craves the BDSM. But Grey starts feeling guilty. He does not realize Maggie enjoys it and feels like he is taking advantage of her innocence. He fires her.
Maggie is hurt and agrees to marry Peter, a guy she was dating. But while trying on her wedding dress she realizes she is in love with Grey and rushes off to tell him. He does not believe her and tests her by asking her to sit at his desk until he comes back. He comes back after 3 days and she sits there until then. 
And then... they live happily ever after.

The story may sound insane but it's actually cute. Maggie is so young and perfect. Perfect in the role. James Spader is always good specially in such layered, complex roles. He can convincingly switch between sadistic and nice in a jiffy. It's a talent very few actors have. 
The movie is romantic... yes, a movie about BDSM is actually romantic... probably the first and only one of it's kind. It's funny too. The BDSM just feels something intimate between two people who fit together well. 

I really enjoyed the movie.


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