"Victimization As Erotica"
What You Need To Know:
SECRETARY as a movie is an attempt to normalize disturbing behavior, redefine love and reduce the pain deep inside the soul of a dying, godless world through sadomasochism. Its message is abhorrent yet a stark reminder that Christians ought to share news of the true Love and Light of the world. Our Savior Jesus Christ is called Healer, and He must weep at the pain this world suffers without Him
(PaPaPa, FeFe, Ro, L, VV, NNN, SSS, AA, M, Ab) Pagan worldview with strong themes of behavioral disorders (including self-mutilation, bondage and victimization) and masochistic romance; 7 obscenities (3 “f-words”); violence includes drunken man shoving wife to floor, woman slapping man, woman beating at man, woman intentionally burning her bare leg with steaming teapot, woman cutting and stabbing herself to inflict pain (very little blood shown), numerous scenes of masturbation, lying and deception; kissing, implied sex, numerous scenes of spanking associated with pleasure, bruises on buttocks shown, implied scene of masturbating with stains shown, fornication (though covered), strong themes of bondage, sadomasochism, secretary wearing shackles and collar tied to a broom handle, man places a horse saddle on woman’s back, woman relieves herself as “test” of love, man describes woman’s self-mutilation scars as beautiful, woman tied to tree during sex act described as “honeymoon”; marriage and true romance mocked; full female nudity and upper male nudity; smoking and drinking abused; and, message that Catholic nuns used to practice self-mutilation so the main character is honored for continuing a “great tradition.”
SECRETARY is a disturbing story about twisted notions of romance. Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is a lonely, sad and emotionally damaged woman with tremendous pain inside. Whenever her father starts drinking alcohol or her parents argue, she retreats from the world to inflict terrible pain upon herself. One possibility for her years of self-mutilation is that she may have been the victim of parental abuse, though this is left intentionally vague. Later, she acknowledges that she inflicts pain on herself because “sometimes the pain inside has to come to the surface” so that she can truly feel again and believe that she matters.
Attempting to flee from her stressful home life, Lee finds a satisfying job as a secretary for a lawyer (James Spader) named Mr. Grey who seems to have major control issues. He is demanding and harsh, and wastes no time crossing the legal line of sexual harassment. He spanks Lee for typographical errors and continues to victimize this emotionally fragile young woman. She interprets his attention as affection and determines that she loves him. His abuse alters her relationship with a serious boyfriend, and she is unfulfilled by “normal” sex.
Mr. Grey fires Lee in an attempt to stop his own disturbing behavior. He knows he is doing wrong, calls his activity “disgusting” and even apologizes to her. She is determined to win him back, so she agrees to a ridiculous test which onlookers call a “hunger strike.” This story, already bleak with disgusting themes, spirals down to nonsensical revelations and distorted romantic conclusions. During Lee’s dreams/hallucinations, her father tells her that she is a “child of God” and that her body and soul are hers to do with as she pleases. In the end, she finds that incorporating pain in her new marriage is just “right” for her.
SECRETARY as a movie is an attempt to normalize disturbing behavior, redefine love and reduce the pain deep inside the soul of a dying, godless world. Its message is abhorrent yet a stark reminder that Christians ought to share news of the true Love and Light of the world. Our Savior Jesus Christ is called Healer, and He must weep at the pain this world suffers without Him.