Friday, September 27, 2002

Secretary (IMDB) (Netflix)
It was never like this at the big firm. Maggie Gyllenhaal is a reluctantly de-institutionalized submissive who also dabbles in self-injury, and James Spader is the lightly sadistic lawyer who doesn't like her typing skills. It's a match made in Krafft-Ebing heaven. As with any boss-secretary relationship, however, there's a subtle tug-of-war over who's really in charge, and inside each character as they come to terms with what really makes them happy.

There's not a clich├ęd moment in the script, which makes every word count and keeps things interesting, albeit at a leisurely pace. Given his career-long stranglehold on endearing creep parts, Spader is nicely typecast but doesn't mail it in, and Gyllenhaal nails what should be her breakout performance; she's got nuance, spunk and a glowing comic charm that you wouldn't expect from such a role. Much fun in the I'm-so-naughty-for-seeing-this sense.