One for the masochists
18th December 2003
Or should that be one for the sadists, the bondage fans, the orange, ligature and fishnets brigade? Lee Holloway (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko's sister) finally shakes off her teenage self-harming misery years by falling hopelessly in love with her lawyer boss, Mr Grey (a sparkling James Spader) who just happens to be a dyed-in-the-wool sexual sadist.
It would be easy to dismiss this film as a prurient voyeuristic eye on the affairs of those who exist on the margins of sexual behaviour. I'm sure too that a lot of professionals working with people suffering from psycho-sexual problems would throw up their hands in horror at the notion that their clients could emerge from self-destructive, self-harming phases by embracing regular bondage and caning sessions. So far, so politically incorrect.
There is something more to this film though than the brief synopsis given above. When Lee looks us in the eye at the end of the movie, she's saying, "Come on, judge me if you're so sure of yourself". As far as she's concerned, she's swapped misery for bliss and her relationship with Mr Grey is entirely positive and consensual.
I would recommend this film for anyone who is prepared to put up with a few tremors and quakes in their moral universe. It's well-played, fairly credible and amusing without being too up itself.