|Lions Gate Films | Release Date: September 20, 2002||CRITIC SCORE DISTRIBUTION|
The problem with Secretary isn't that it is offensive or unnerving -- although you get the idea the filmmakers hoped it might be at least one of those. The problem is that the story is slow-moving and dull.
Director Steven Shainberg makes something draggy out of something that wants to be light. It's got wit, but it's also earnest, and in proportion to those two traits it wins and loses you.
Not meant to be realistic; it was shot by the director Steven Shainberg in a slow, dreamy neo-De Palma style and in candy colors, and Gyllenhaal has a Kewpie-doll silliness that almost makes the naughty parts of the movie fun. [23 Sept 2002, p. 98]
Before it takes a sudden turn and devolves into a bizarre sort of romantic comedy, Steven Shainberg's adaptation of Mary Gaitskill's harrowing short story about dominance, submission and the twisted sexual dynamics of the work place is a brilliantly played, deeply unsettling experience. Read full review
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