First, a quick link: this is COMPLETELY FUCKED. I'm not going to write a full entry on it, because other bloggers have said a lot already and it's very self-evident why this is fucked. But in case you hadn't heard about it, you should, because it's really fucked.
Last night I got the weird urge to rewatch Secretary. I kind of love this movie. Partly because it's just about my only option for positive portrayals of BDSM in the mainstream media; certainly it's the only positive portrayal of male domination that I can think of. Here are some of the things I love:
-James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal are so sexy oh my god.
-There are no stereotypical BDSM outfits and gear. God I'm sick of black leather strappy stuff--almost invariably on a woman or a comic-relief gay man--being shorthand for "kinky" in the media.
-The soundtrack is really nice. It's neither sleazy nor over-serious, but... languid, almost meditative, but not chaste. Leonard Cohen makes the sexy montage sexier, and "Chariots Rise" gets me close to sniffles.
-This is the only movie I've ever seen (including porn!) that shows a woman masturbating the way I actually do it! Let's hear it for face-down hand-humping!
-Maggie Gyllenhaal never loses her sympathy or dignity when doing very undignified things. Whether she's getting spanked or jerked off on or pissing herself in a wedding dress, she comes off as confused but brave, not objectified. She's also brave with her body, and does a nude scene that doesn't read as "ooh, the nude scene" but as symbolic of her character development.
-The way James Spader makes a better secretary out of Maggie Gyllenhaal is almost as hot as the actual kink and sex. Something in the patient, firm way he corrects her is fascinating to me. I can picture my own secretarial skills increasing immensely under such situations.
-Cosmopolitan Magazine shout-out!
-The ending where James Spader washes her and beds her on a completely fucking mysterious bed of grass. It's bizarre and a little romance-novely, but I love the way he worships her body without losing his Domliness.
-The scene where he jerks off on her back is so fucked up. In a good way. It's one of those experiences that's so fucked-up you can't even totally justify it in Kinkland, you can't justify it to anyone including yourself and your partner, it's crossing from the "tee hee so naughty" to the "really not okay." Even if crossing that line is rarely a good idea, I love to see it explored.
-"...and four peas."
And here are a few things I don't love:
-Maggie Gyllenhaal's only encounter with the BDSM world outside James Spader is a bunch of tomato-fetishizing freaks. What's up with that? They're not the only two kinky yet reasonable people in the world, and believing that you're the Only True Kinksters is, in reality, somewhere between snobby and dangerous.
-She coulda let her fiance down a little easier, for Christ's sake. She knew months in advance that he wasn't what she wanted, and her decision to go ahead with the wedding anyway isn't agonizingly conflicted, it's just assholish.
-Their "Justice of the Peace" wedding seems a little sad to me. I mean, maybe that's just the way they wanted it, but it seems like there's an implication that because they're kinky they must be isolated, that they couldn't have invited any friends and family to the wedding.
-At times the movie seems to have a certain "no actual kinksters were harmed" feel to it, like everyone did thorough library research on the subject but of course they're normal. I can understand why the cast and crew might not want to publicize such a thing, and I assume that someone involved in the writing was actually kinky, but it sometimes comes off as almost anthropological, a view from the outside.
-The sexual-harassment-tastic job interview.
-Horse tack? Complete with straw on the desk and a carrot in her mouth? Really? Really?
-Let's face it, "I'll sit at your desk until you marry me" is a little bit crazypants.