Secretary is a real oddity. But a good oddity. Perverse and sincere in equal measure, it is refreshing in the way it presents a sadomasochistic relationship very frankly and without shock or “hot-topic” dashings. This is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s breakout performance and she’s really fantastic. She disappears into this film and creates a genuine character unlike anything I’ve seen before. The way she uses her body and voice is fascinating. Her ass is as much a main character in this film as the rest of her and for that to work without it being purely gratuitous is a hell of a feat. What a brave film for any actor to take on. James Spader too is really effective. Is it just me or was he channeling William Shatner in this performance? It’s strange how Spader has become the sort of poster-boy for off-center erotic movies. I wonder if this is by design or coincidence. A good role is a good role and maybe he just doesn’t care about any crossover or pigeon-holing that might occur. He just played Ultron so it doesn’t seem to be doing him any harm but I like this through-line in his career. I’m glad this seems to have had a bit of a re-appraisal in light of Fifty Shades of Grey last year. There still hasn’t been a film like it since. A weird love story that is dark yet still completely lovely. Memorable stuff.