Writing credits: based on novel of Mary Gaitskill
Directed by: Steven Shinberg
Cast: James Spader (E. Edward Grey), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Lee Holloway)
Subject by: Mary Gaitskill
Cinematography by: Steven Shainberg, Erin Cressida Wilson
Photography by: Steven Fierberg
Original music by: Angelo Badalamenti, Harold R. Brown, Charles Miller, Lee Oskar, Howard E. Scott
Film editing by: Pam Wise
Production design by: Amy Danger
Whit sheer originality and bold, unflinching humor, Secretary embraces a most unconventional relationship and lays open the notion that love doesn't always occur in the traditional fashion. Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has a few strikes against her when she applies for a secretarial position at the law office of E. Edward Grey (James Spader). For starters, she was released only recently from a mental institution. However, she gets the job anyway and soon learns that Mr. Grey is not your average boss. Eventually, they begin a relationship, crossing lines of conduct that would give most human resource directors the shivers.
Director Steven Shainberg performs a remarkable feat by taking what could be construed as weighty material and infusing it with sensuality and, even more surprisingly, humor. Based on a critically acclaimed short story "Secretary," by Mary Gaitskill, the exquisitely honed character development of Secretary lures us to the darker side of human sexuality, all the while warming us up to the idea that people are getting--and giving--what they want. While it toys with society's expectations of love, Secretary also explores the delicate balance between pain and healing, control and surrender. It could never be labeled old-fashioned but, when all is said and done, Secretary is, at its core and undeniably, a love story.