After a bout of illness, Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) moves back in with her dysfunctional family, ready to start anew.
Despite a few strikes against her she applies for a secretarial position at the law office of E. Edward Grey (James Spader).
Although she's never had a job in her life, Lee is hired by the mysterious lawyer, who seems unconcerned by her lack of experience.
At first the work seems quite normal and boring - typing, filing and coffee-making - but Lee tries hard to please him. And her family are desperate for her to succeed.
Slowly Lee and Mr.Grey embark on a more personal relationship behind closed doors, crossing lines of conduct into a deep realm of human sexuality, a unique love affair, in which the roles of dominance and submission suit both of them perfectly.
The tender beauty of two people coming slowly together in a mutually quirky and unconventional harmony is captured perfectly. When this complex office love becomes apparent to Lee's family and her sometime boyfriend (Jeremy Davies), they try to lure her back into their mundane world which does not see love the way they do.
The misunderstood lovers have a fight on their hands - to protect the happiness that they have previously relationships which now seems at odds with the conventional view of relationship. Lee, now fully aware of her deepest feelings, refuses to budge. She has discovered what love is for her.
Secretary is a powerful and very unique love story, its bold, unflinching humour and strange yet seductive eroticism help explore the notion that love doesn't always occur the way we might expect.