Here’s Why You Should See “Secretary” Before “Fifty Shades Of Grey”

E. Edward Grey > Christian Grey. Spoiler alert for both movies!

1. First off, both films are about a shy brunette who falls for an elusive Mr. Grey and has S&M sex with him.

Universal Pictures



Secretary, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader, came out in 2002. Fifty Shades (the book) came out in 2011 and the movie, starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, is scheduled for 2015. HMMMM.

2. In Fifty Shades, Christian Grey wants Ana Steele to open up, which just leads to her getting flustered.

Universal Pictures / ohmrgrey.tumblr.com

Universal Pictures / ohmrgrey.tumblr.com


An almost identical situation happens in Secretary, but leads to a more genuine conversation.

Lionsgate / Via keptyn.tumblr.com

3. Ana and Christian appear to have that moment of sexual discovery in an elevator.


It’s fine, it’s hot, whatever.

But this is that same moment in Secretary.

Lionsgate / Via sickmarla.tumblr.com


4. Fifty Shades is all about the secret sensual touching.

Universal Pictures / Via huffingtonpost.tumblr.com

So is Secretary, but it gets way more subtle.

Lionsgate / Via ungifable.tumblr.com

Touching a thigh under a table is a trope we’ve all seen before. But that graze of Edward’s thumb against Lee’s pinky??? Legendary.

5. In Fifty Shades, Christian’s controlling behavior primarily functions to make the sex more interesting.

Universal Pictures / ohmrgrey.tumblr.com

Universal Pictures / ohmrgrey.tumblr.com


But in Secretary, Edward actually maintains a level of openness with Lee that makes her feel less alone.


6. There’s that moment where Christian shows Ana his BDSM sex chamber.

Universal Pictures / Via huffingtonpost.tumblr.com

Whips, handcuffs, blindfolds — the usual suspects.

But Secretary isn’t afraid to get really weird.

Lionsgate / Via betweenbaw.tumblr.com

7. Also, Fifty Shades seems pretty tonally serious.

Universal Pictures / Via huffingtonpost.tumblr.com

But Secretary is, at its core, a rom-com, and has some really funny bits.

Lionsgate / keptyn.tumblr.com

Lionsgate / keptyn.tumblr.com

Lionsgate / keptyn.tumblr.com


8. Mostly though, Ana and Christian’s romance (spoiler alert) doesn’t ever blossom into a real, truly loving relationship.

Universal Pictures



It ends with Ana learning that she’s incompatible with Christian and leaving him.

But that’s exactly what happens in Secretary, and not in a super slipshod way either.

Along the way, both characters grow and explore their own personalities in ways they haven’t before.

9. Sure, Ana grows from her experience with Christian Grey, but not much beyond, Oh, this guy probably wasn’t the best choice.”

Universal Pictures / Via truetothend.tumblr.com

Meanwhile, Lee overcomes self-harm, gains confidence, and challenges Edward as much as she does herself.

Basically, Secretary rules and should be viewed immediately — Fifty Shades fan or not.

Lionsgate / Via keptyn.tumblr.com

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