Yo, I saw “Secretary” today.
Movies that feature S/M either treat it lightheartedly (the kooky roommate with the fur-lined handcuffs) or very seriously (the cop drawn into the shadowy underworld). Neither of those types deal with in a way that’s real.
I’m not sure, but I think the “Secretary” is the first film (at least that I’ve seen) that deal with S/M in a very real way. The main character Lee (Maggie Gyllenhaal) starts off being a self-harmer, getting out the nail scissors when things get tough at home. She gets a job as a secretary for a perfectionist lawyer (James Spader, yes, very good). He likes punishing her when she makes mistakes. She discovers she likes being punished.
Soon the harsh words turn into bottom whacking, and she’s found a better replacement for the cutting. Then the movie reveals its true colours: it’s a sweet love story. Lee falls in love with her emotionally distant boss. Can she break through and win his heart? Will he make sweet love with her, or will he just jizz on her bum?
It’s a sweet romantic comedy that just happens to be about two people who are into S/M and in doing so makes it all make perfect sense. I left the cinema smiling.