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I think I'll wallow in lazy self-satisfaction for the rest of the day, actually having dragged myself out of bed & run 15 km; bonus points for being up and running, so to speak, at not even 9:30, after getting to bed not before 3 am, somewhat buzzed.

Saw Secretary with U. yesterday, which, while undoubtedly a good movie, I can't say I really liked. SM isn't my kind of kink, and, more importantly, in some respects I felt too close to Lee's character for comfort (not so much the self-injury, which I really only dabbled in, rather her eagerness to please, her over-achieving side); there were moments when people in the audience laughed I couldn't find funny at all. Especially during the first part of the movie when Edward explores just how far he can go with her, there were scenes that made me grit my teeth and really pushed my limits, because at this point you don't know how it'll turn out. On a superficial level it became easier to watch once she tilts the power balance and becomes less of a victim, especially considering he is at least as mentally fucked up as she is, but to me it still walked a fine line, where every funny moment had an equal share of seriousness and discomfort.

This said, IMO the movie was very well done, the way it treated Lee's character & the development and nature of their relationship without ever becoming either embarrassing, moralising or too light-weight, the way it balanced and /or alternated darker, disturbing scenes with funnier moments or elements, always giving you a little breathing space after the tension had built up, at the same time never allowing you to feel safe for too long.

Any reservations or objections I have are on a strictly personal & emotional level... I'm well aware that "this isn't how I envision a (healthy) relationship" is not a valid or useful argument in a discussion of a work of art (or of relationships generally?), but I can't keep it entirely out of it either. I'm simply extremely uncomfortable with this kind of dependence; to me perhaps the worst mind-fuck was when he forbade her to cut herself, effectively (though perhaps not even intentionally - hard to tell) forcing her to turn to him for pain. That this turns out to be what she wants doesn't make it much better IMO.

Again, personal discomfort.

My only real complaint is that the end is way too sugary. Perhaps it was meant to subtly parody the usual romantic comedy happy ending, just as the part of the movie's intent may be to unmask the hushed up and more socially acceptable issues of dominance and dependency in (superficially) 'normal' relationships, but it still seems more than a little forced and unrealistic, although that might also be due to the fact that the story is mainly, though not entirely exclusively, told from Lee's POV and we never really get a glimpse in Edward's mind, or a real grasp of his character.


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March 2013

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