On Friday night I finally went to see Fifty Shades of Grey.
First thought? I liked the movie a LOT more than the book… for one thing there was no inner goddess interrupting every five minutes!
Second thought? Okay, the acting wasn’t the best, but as the movie went on the Christian Grey on the screen became closer to the Christian Grey I had imagined while reading the book. Ana, on the other hand? She reminded me so much of Cecile (Selma Blair) from Cruel Intentions that occasionally I forgot what movie I was watching, and kept expecting Ryan Phillippe to join her.
My main thought though? I don’t know what all the fuss (ie critique) is about, with regard to the movie itself. I personally thought the movie portrayed the relationship very well, particularly with regard to Ana willingly consenting to the type of relationship Christian wanted. I didn’t see it as an abusive relationship – whereas in the book I did (to an extent) – I don’t know that it is a portrayal of a typical BDSM relationship, but it wasn’t something either of them jumped into quickly, or without discussion.
Having been in a sexually abusive relationship – masked as BDSM – the situation between Christian and Ana was 50,000 times different to the relationships and dynamics I experienced with my ex. If it were an abusive relationship Christian wouldn’t have allowed Ana to make amendments to the contract, he wouldn’t have laid it all out like that for her. He wouldn’t have cared about what she wanted or didn’t want and would have gone ahead and anally fisted her, not caring it was on her list of NOOOOOO NEVER EVER EVER.
I got the feeling by the end of the movie that Ana felt empowered and strong. She had the lady-balls to tell Christian she did NOT like the way he was treating her and that the relationship had gone too far. No way was she going to put up with it any longer, and she told him so. She left.
Yes. She LEFT. She stood up for herself and left.
Leaving isn’t something done easily in a sexually abusive relationship. In fact it is a bloody hard thing to do… so hard that a lot of victims just don’t do it. But Ana, the first occurance of Christian taking things too far, the first time she felt as if she was out of her depth, the first time she felt he didn’t truly respect her, she left. Yes, she is the one who told Christian to take her into the red room and show her what he was really like… but when she realised she couldn’t handle that version of Christian, she left.
It occurred to me while talking to my friend about the movie on the way home, that if Fifty Shades of Grey (the books) didn’t exist, but the movie did, people would go into the movie with a far more open mind. Rather than seeing it as a story of sexually abusive domination, perhaps they would see it as a story about BDSM, about another sexual lifestyle? Rather than seeing it as a story about an older, powerful man controlling a younger, naive woman, people would see it as a story about the importance of consent in relationships? Rather than seeing it as an example of a woman caught under the spell of a messed-up control freak in all aspects of life, they would see it as the journey of this woman from timid and shy, to empowered and strong, strong enough to walk out when she felt she wasn’t being treated with the respect she deserved.
As for people complaining about the supposedly explicit sex scenes? I have seen far more explicit sex scenes in mainstream movies! Sure, it was a bit weird to be watching them on the big screen with strangers around me, but I have certainly seen worse. It definitely deserves the R18 rating, but it most certainly wasn’t ‘pornographic’ as has been stated in many articles I’ve read.
If I am honest… I loved the sex scenes! I thought they were tastefully done, showing enough to get your heart racing, but not so much it felt as if you were watching bonafide porn. With regard to the BDSM scenes (spanking etc), I think those were particularly enjoyable to watch, and I can guarantee you that after seeing the movie, couples would have stopped at their nearest hardware store to buy a length of rope, or made good use of ties, experimented with feathers and other fabrics on the skin, on blindfolding and teasing each other. It was by no means gratuitous, it was by no means violent (with the exception of the very last scene in the red room, when Ana decides she’s had enough).
No, this movie isn’t going to be to everyone’s liking, in the same way Avatar wasn’t to everyone’s liking, or The Notebook, or Armageddon, or American Pie, or Toy Story, or (this one shocks me!) Grease. People who see the movie have every right to give their own review, their own critique… but if you don’t see the movie you have no right to bash it, to be negative and insulting about it. Roll your eyes all you want, think every negative thing you want, but until you see it for yourself you don’t really have a right to give any form of feedback, negative or positive.