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Secretary | 2002 | R | - 8.4.5

A mix of romantic drama and black comedy about a sadomasochistic relationship between a boss and his secretary: Recently released from a mental institution, and prone to self-mutilation, a woman (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is hired as a secretary by an attorney (James Spader) who's not exactly free from behavioral anomalies himself. Their relationship soon crosses conventional lines of conduct. Also with Lesley Ann Warren, Jeremy Davies and Patrick Bauchau. [1:44]

SEX/NUDITY 8 - A woman is tied to a tree, a man thrusts in front of her and they both moan (she may be nude but the man blocks a direct view and her face is covered by a black veil). A woman lies fully nude and a man kisses her, all over her body (he's bare-chested). A man tells a woman to bend over his desk, he smacks her buttocks repeatedly as she reads a letter, he lunges forward and leans on the desk next to her. A woman is told to lean over a desk, pull up her skirt and pull down her hose and panties, a man stands behind her, unzips his pants, begins to masturbate (we see him moving rhythmically) and ejaculates (we see a wet spot on the back of the woman's blouse). We hear slaps and a woman's moans coming from behind a closed door (several times and in different scenes). A man lies on top of a woman thrusting and moaning, and he ejaculates (we see his bare back). A man and woman kiss, lie on a bed together and she exposes her buttocks for him to hit. A man and woman kiss and he lies on top of her. A man undresses a woman, she sits in a tub and he bathes her (we see her bare breasts). A woman masturbates and imagines being with two different men, a woman masturbates, touches her breasts and puts her hand in her panties. A man and a woman kiss, in one scene romantically, and a woman caresses a man's hair. A woman licks an envelope seductively, and a woman tries to seduce a man by leaning over his desk. A woman pulls down her panties to reveal a very bruised buttock. We see a photograph of a woman in her underwear. A man wears a bathrobe and we see his bare chest and boxer shorts. A woman bathes and we see part of her bare chest, above the water line. A woman's skirt rises up exposing part of her thigh, a man admires her, and a man looks at a woman longingly in a few scenes. Women wear outfits that expose cleavage. A man asks a woman if she had sex on her date with another man. Men and women dance together.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - A woman puts a hot teakettle on her bare thigh. A woman pokes herself in the leg with the sharpened foot of a statue but stops before she draws blood, and a woman starts to poke her leg with a pair of scissors but is interrupted. A woman hits a man in the face and knees him in the groin. A man and a woman argue and he shoves her back onto the floor and a vase breaks. A man tells a woman to bend over his desk, he smacks her buttocks repeatedly as she reads a letter, and we hear slapping in a few other scenes. A woman hits a man in the face. A woman pulls down her panties to reveal a very bruised buttock. A woman throws tomatoes at a man who is tied to a stove with burners on and we hear about other sadomasochistic activities that a woman has engaged in. A woman hits herself on the buttocks with a hairbrush. A woman is shown growing weak from dehydration and starvation. A man is shown in a hospital with tubes in his nose. A woman puts a dead worm on a piece of paper and delivers it to a man. A woman walks through an office performing her secretarial duties while her hands are chained to a bar. A woman kneels on a desk and a man puts a saddle on her back and a carrot in her mouth. A woman climbs into a garbage dumpster searching for some papers. A woman urinates while sitting in a chair. A woman yells on the phone, a man yells at a woman, and a woman wipes her feet on a man's coat in anger. A woman sets mousetraps.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 4 F-words, 3 sexual references, 3 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 1 religious profanity, 2 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Sadomasochism, mental disorders, psychiatric institutions, isolation, compatibility, relationships, nervous breakdowns, being shy, dominant/submissive, hunger strike.

MESSAGE - We can all find a compatible companion, regardless of how unconventional or even abnormal we are.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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