So this week my blog is devoted to LOVE. Red, capital-lettered love in all of it's varying forms.
I thought I would start by watching a different romantic movie every single night this week... but not just any romantic movies. None of your Hugh Grant, Meg Ryan, Reese Witherspoon sugar-sweet sap... only movies that really and truly melt the ice from my cold, dead heart and make me feel that true love really does exist.
So first up we have Secretary starring Maggie G and The Spades!
You guys, I love this movie so hard. It is EVERYTHING Fifty Shades of Grey aspires and fails to be.
First of all, I will preface by saying I am not myself someone that identifies as a BDSM enthusiast/participant so my ability to talk about this in a knowledgeable way is somewhat limited, BUT I do know some people who are, and they are across the board very, very normal and fantastic people. These are the type of people you stand in line with at the bank on a daily basis, and they have healthy, loving relationships with their partners. They are not Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele (barf me to death).
The plot of this movie is pretty straightforward: Mousy, fragile young woman (Maggie G) takes a job as a secretary to a tyrannical attorney (The Spades) and they enter into a BDSM sub/dom relationship.
But here is what I love about it... it's a LOVE story that just happens to have BDSM! Which I think is pretty revolutionary! In most movies about submissive/dominant relationships the focus is on the sex, and in most cases it is handled as a scary, dark thing that corrupts and takes people down destructive paths. In this movie the writing and acting do such an amazing job of showing how this type of relationship can be incredibly empowering. It shows that two people can be loving and tender while still flogging each other with a riding crop.
The thing is that the main character Lee (Maggie G) is incredibly fragile when we first meet her. She has just left a mental institution where she was sent because of her self-harm habit and sent home to a very unstable environment. Her boss E. Edward Grey (The Spades) recognizes this sadness and fragility and instead of breaking her down (hello Christian Grey!) empowers her to ask and seek for what she wants... for what is best for her. It's really beautiful to watch.
This is my absolute favorite scene in the movie. It happens right before their sexual/romantic relationship begins, and I think you can really see exactly what I'm talking about above. PLEASE watch the entire 5 minutes... it's so beautiful and sweet and amazing... and kind of sexy too.
I love how at the beginning of the scene Mr. Grey looks so predatory... like the big, bad wolf waiting to eat her up, and then the second he admits he is shy his body language changes. He becomes soft and vulnerable and tender. And then the strength and steel comes back at the end, and it is absolutely what she needs. She needs both... the vulnerability and the strength.
The other really strong point of the movie is that it establishes that these two were absolutely meant for just each other... it's not just that they have the BDSM thing in common... you walk away knowing that they are absolutely soul mates. I just love that.
So I really can't recommend this movie enough... some of the actual BDSM scenes are a little cartoonish, but they never detract from the tender message behind it all.
And as a little something extra, here is a poem about Little Red Riding Hood that really reminds me of this movie (lots of great, not so subtle references to Little Red Riding Hood in the movie... I think Lee actually wears a red cape at one point and the office is very green and shadowy like a forest... great art direction in the movie as well!). It's from Joseph Gordon Levitt's hitRECord website and is written by user JulesKD.
But What If I Want To Be Eaten