Friday, January 21, 2005

Only in Florida?

My latest Netflix rental was Secretary, which Julian Sanchez noted as one of the rare libertarian films. Maggie Gyllenhaal acts her heart out as the none-too-brilliant Lee Holloway, a spacey self-mutilator who finds a less injurious channel for her desire to feel pain through her sadistic, domineering employer. She also finds true love.

The film manages to combine the sadly and poignantly realistic (the carefully selected tool kit Lee uses to cut herself, the well-meaning parents of Lee's sometime boyfriend) with more outlandish elements (the overdone lushness of the office, the bed of grass, a date in which Lee drinks wine at a laundromat, and of course the intricate rituals and devices set up by Lee and her employer in their S&M relationship) in such a way as to evoke a truly organic weirdness. And how many love stories today end with the happily married woman gleefully tossing a dead bug on the marital bed? I highly recommend Secretary to anyone who is interested in finding out about alternative ways of loving or in seeing a pair of truly dysfunctional people find a way to cope with their problems instead of going through some unlikely metamorphosis to normality.
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