Secretary 2002

Critics score:
75 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Depending upon your reaction to this movie, you may never again be able to look at a red felt Sharpie pen without disgust, a thrill, or the giggles. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: The characters in Secretary never feel the least bit human. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: This is one of those movies that could have gone all wrong, but it hits all the right notes. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Secretary is a textbook example of a movie that's not for everybody: It's easier to respect it than to enjoy it. Read more

Susan Stark, Detroit News: Both lead performances are earnest in the extreme and that the psychological explanations for what's shown on screen are facile, at best. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: I found the movie a bit of a bore. Read more

Stephen Holden, New York Times: A small groundbreaking comedy. Read more

Manohla Dargis, Los Angeles Times: For all the dolorous trim, Secretary is a genial romance that maintains a surprisingly buoyant tone throughout, notwithstanding some of the writers' sporadic dips into pop Freudianism. Read more

Eric Harrison, Houston Chronicle: Though it was made with careful attention to detail and is well-acted by James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal, I felt disrespected. Read more

Steven Rosen, Denver Post: It is truly original in its tone, its choices made and paths taken. Read more

Entertainment Weekly: Sadomasochism is treated as a joke in Secretary, but the fun of the movie is that it's also much more than a joke. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: The movie isn't painfully bad, something to be 'fully experienced'; it's just tediously bad, something to be fully forgotten. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: An edgy, cleverly written indie that simply derails shortly before the final stretch. Read more

Graham Robinson, L.A. Weekly: Offers something few films even attempt: an honest depiction of the role sex plays in everyday life as a source of empowerment and healing. Read more

John Anderson, Newsday: Makes S&M seem very romantic, and Maggie Gyllenhaal is a delight. Read more

David Ansen, Newsweek: Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: For all its Bunuellian pretensions, Secretary is deeply conventional: Edward and Lee accept their bondage as the way to a more fulfilling life. It's the filmmakers who need to be spanked. Read more

David Edelstein, NPR's Fresh Air: Read more

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer: I don't know about you, but I found all these outrageously romantic maneuvers both funny and endearing. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: The movie enters a realm where few non-porn films venture, and comes across as darkly funny, energetic, and surprisingly gentle. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The director, Steven Shainberg, has succeeded by focusing intently on his characters, making them quirky individuals rather than figures of fun. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, A liberating, kindhearted picture, one whose ending brings with it the feeling that something has finally been shaken free. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: It provokes nothing but yawns, and the sex it explores is stuff everybody knows about and says, 'So what?' Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Disturbing yet engrossing. Read more

Derek Adams, Time Out: Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: Secretary is just too original to be ignored. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Variety: Read more