Question about the movie "Secretary" (mild spoilers)

I just watched this, having seen it last when it first came out.
I know it’s not spelled out in the movie, but what (in your opinion) was the relationship between “The Paralegal” and the lawyer. She’s very dismissive of Lee in a brief scene near the beginning and then she’s in the next stall while Lee is masturbating. As Lee is loudly going to town, the paralegal has kind of ambiguous reaction. Was she a former lover of the lawyer or just seen a few secrataries come and go, knew why and was feeling pity?
Also was the lawyer’s ex-wife a dom? Was the lawyer her sub when they were together? She seemed pretty agressive towards him although he hid rather than face her.

Good movie Spader and Ghyllenhall were excellent.

Not sure. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it. I did get the impression that the ex-wife wasn’t so much a dom as she was just… contemptuous of him. Perhaps he tried to establish control over her, and she didn’t cotton to it…

I’ve got to be the only person in the world who saw this flick who didn’t give two cents about the relationship between the leads but spent the whole time wishing I had much of the office equipment. Some beautiful old typewriters were featured, as I recall.

I subscribe to the theory that the paralegal in the next stall was familiar with James Spader’s treatment of his secretaries.

I always thought the ex-wife was intriguing. I agree that she didn’t come across as a sub (though outwardly dominant folks often are subby in the bedroom). However, I think she just didn’t know how to negotiate a relationship with Spader’s character. Remember the slew of people that visit Ghyllenhall when she’s sitting in the chair? The ex-wife is one of them, she says something like; “The worm, brilliant.”

My apologies for the paraphrase there. My point is, she seems impressed with the way Ghyllenhall dealt with Spader, almost like she’s saying “I could never figure out how to handle him.”

And it makes sense, Ghyllenhall was able to catch his interest again in a way that, while slightly passive/aggressive, still wouldn’t be considered topping from the bottom.

She was hallucinating those people, right?

It makes sense that the ex was contemptuous of him because she just couldn’t accept the D/S thing and that may have lead to thier split.

I watched it with my MIL because the the cover said “romantic comedy”.

The lawyers wife seemed contemptous of him because he was unable to interact with women in a normal way and too ashamed to be open about his proclivities.

I had never considered that she might have been hallucinating her visitors, that’s interesting. IMO, she wasn’t hallucinating but I don’t suppose it matters either way.


I haven’t returned the DVD yet, so I just went back and rewatched that part. She is clearly hallucinating. The range of people who appear is too great to be real and at one point they are having a party in the law office. Then after a shot of her incoherently trying to sing “99 Bottles of Beer” she envisions live news coverage of “what’s come to be known as The Lee Holloway Hunger Strike”, complete with a crowd of onlookers. The next real scene is when the lawyer comes back in the morning.

Just wanted to test my own (3 day) recollection, really. :slight_smile: