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E. Edward Grey (an excellent James Spader reminiscent of "Sex, Lies and Videotape") could have used a little more background but that's quibbling. Lee's character was simply marvelous from start to finish. In my small hometown, a few people even applauded at the end. We've come a long way.
Love comes in all sizes, and the discovery of that love makes an engrossing 144 minutes of film time. I've heard people say these two are "damaged." Really? But aren't we all? And how lovely and whimsical to find another who understands us so well.
Lee (Maggie Gyllenhaal) blossoms from a repressed, obsessive, unhappy girl into a self-assured woman all because a strange, obsessive, largely unhappy man sees in her the need to be .... herself ... a submissively strong woman who likes to be spanked, restrained, and ordered around. As long as she knows her submission is understood, she is liberated in the true sense of that term. She becomes the powerful one ... all because she accepts who she is. Acceptance and love. Isn't that what most of us aspire to?
I loved the scene where Lee tries to do the impossible: make a cup of coffee for the new boss who casually demands it. A truly submissive person will understand that scene on a very deep level.
I'll see this again before it leaves my local theater. And can't wait to buy the DVD when it's available. It's a "feel good" movie with an irresistible twist! :)
This movie is not for everyone; but I wish I could say it was. It deals with all the relevant themes of a good, complex love story. It just adds a new level ---- and one that's been around in the shadows for a few decades.
As the film begins, Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has just been released from institutional therapy. Lee has a level of self-esteem that's abysmal to the point of involving self-mutilation with sharp objects. (She even has her own first aid kit to disinfect and treat the wounds as soon as she makes them!) And whatever therapy she got didn't stick. But, life goes on, so she takes a typing class, and subsequently lands a job as a SECRETARY for the perfectionist lawyer "Mr. Grey" (James Spader).
Mutual assessment soon reveals potential for an S&M relationship where Grey is the "S" and Lee the "M". Courting, so to speak, and foreplay involve the boss making increasingly difficult demands of Lee's job performance with the mutual understanding that the latter will fail and punishment will follow. And what's a poor girl to do when making deliberate spelling errors in legal correspondence just doesn't push Grey's lust button anymore?
Spader's Grey persona is so deliciously creepy - not sinister, just creepy - that his paralegal does her work in such an unusual hiding place that she's rarely seen, even by the audience. And the delightful Gyllenhaal's portrayal of Holloway is so otherwise girl-next-door, except for her preoccupation with cutting edges, that I'm now surreptitiously scrutinizing our office secretaries for barely-hidden scars. And Jeremy Davies is terrific as Lee's nominal boyfriend, the painfully pathetic Peter.Read more ›
It also let the viewer see that Dominant men aren't monsters but just irregular regular guys trying to co-exist with their hidden desires to control their partners in ways that are beneficial to both. I'm no pro at writing so I hope I'm saying this well.....but simply, if you want to gain some understanding of people who choose this alternative lifestyle and how it changes them for the better, see this movie!!!
The acting is, in a word, superb. James Spader turns in his usual high-caliber performance, and Maggie Gyllenhaal is stunning(and beautiful as well!) She conveys more emotion with a single glance than most actresses could in a lengthy monologue. Jeremy Davies also performs quite well in his rather small part. My only quibble with this film is a very minor one: it would have been nice if the story had given a little more background on Mr. Grey. All in all, a top notch film. I will watch it again and again, and I highly recommend it to all open-minded movie fans. Just keep the kids away from the set while you watch it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Maggie Gyllenhaal is spectacular in this movie. In my opinion, it is her best role to date. The plot can be a little slow at times, but I do think that it is a realistic look at... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Allison Boyer
This is the best BDSM love story I have ever seen. I watch it a couple times per year. I cannot even think of a negative thing to say about it :)Published 2 days ago by BeckyBook
Very happy with purchase. New to Amazon, but will be buying more.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer