Movies: Secretary

Directed by Steven Shainberg

A couple of typing errors, and the next thing she (Maggie Gyllenhaal) knows, she's bent across the boss's desk, awaiting punishment. He (James Spader) is a sadist who sometimes lacks the courage of his convictions. But that's all right with his employee. She has enough affection for pain and humiliation for both of them. It may not be quite so all right with viewers, though. Writer-director Shainberg seems to be aiming for a dark comedy, but mostly his movie is coy without being funny, ugly without being truly transgressive, stupid when it needs to be smart. --R.S.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!