History: Nest of Traitors
Interview: A Nation of Hope
Unions: National Focus
Safety: The Shocking Truth
Tribute: A Comrade Departed
History: Working Bees
Education: The Big Picture
International: Static Labour
Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Technology: Google and Campaigning
Review: Secretary With A Difference
Poetry: The Minimale
Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
The Locker Room
To the Victors The Spoils
The Story in General
Thinking of America
Secretary With A Difference
The latest flick by Steven Shainberg goes some way to helping innocent job hunters heed the warning signs of a position worth passing up. And there's something in it for all those shonky operators and unscrupulous bosses out there too. Reading more like a to do guide for scooping the Bad Boss of the year award, Secretary shows just what is possible in a non-unionised workforce when dealing with the most vulnerable of employees.
When Lee Holloway (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal) finally checks out of a mental institution and instantly starts falling back into her depression she realises she has a couple of choices. She can continue to self-mutilate herself (making tangible the pain she is experiencing within), she can start to build her life in the image of her humble dreams (maybe even addressing the root of her pain), or she can do both.
So choosing the latter option Lee embarks on the job hunt that eventually leads her to the paralegal law firm housing one Mr E. Edward Grey, Esq. (aka James Spader). From the moment she sets foot on the property the warning signs to anyone with even the slightest amount of work experience would be clear. But trusting Lee innocently continues like a lamb to slaughter.
Passing the permanent 'secretary wanted' sign, which is lit up like a hotel 'vacancy' sign outside, Lee encounters Edward's former secretary who is in tears on her way out. Rubbish is strewn across the floor of the blood red reception area but she somehow finds her way to Edward's office which, much like Edward himself, is the embodiment of pristine perfection.
Edward's job interview is straight to the point, if a little invasive. Does she live with her parents, is she pregnant, and is she going to get pregnant any time in the foreseeable future? Edward's cross-examination sidesteps any question of experience and so, answering 'favourably' with no hint of discomfort other than that connected to her own insecurity, lands Lee the job.
And so begins an employer/employee relationship like (hopefully) no other. "You will be bored," he warns more like an order. "That's okay, I like being bored," she assures. But their version of boredom is a world apart from the standard garden variety.
All he wants is someone who can answer the phone, type on the antiquated office equipment and, as it turns out, beg like a dog, bray like a lamb, carry out office tasks while fastened to a steel bar and take the odd spanking. And what she wants appears remarkably compatible.
But this movie is less about the employer employee relationship than it is a love story with a difference.
For this reviewer the message was clear: no matter what your kink or how zany your sexual preferences, there is probably at least one other bugger out there who is equally weird ... and if you're really lucky you might even be attracted to each other.
But if you don't want this freakishess on the job, join your union.
Rating: four out of five stars (new frontiers in weirdness)
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