I’d like to point out that I didn’t go to the cinema to watch it, I found it online in a moment of boredom.
Now, I remember when I read the first, what, 150 pages of the book on a train. The first chunk reminded me of stuff I used to read when I was 14 where the girl was innocent and the boy was hot and persuasive. There’d be kissing and eventually something that resembled sex.
Now, to the film. There will be spoilers.
I can’t get away from the fact that the dialogue in the film is as atrocious as it is in the book. I’m also quite amused by the actor playing Christian Grey, cause I find him about as hot as a glacier. Neither of the actors can really be blamed, as they’ve only got what they’ve got to work with, but the overall acting and delivering of (the crappy) lines was overall faaaaaaairly wooden.
As I was saying, in the beginning it’s kind of… teenage romance sweet. She’s beyond untouched and he’s (supposed to be) a hot, charming, rich, successful, experienced blah blah guy. I didn’t even think much of it when he showed up at her work place in another state at first. Or that he picked her up when she was drunk and put her in his bed, rather than converse with the room mate to find her address and get her home. Instead, he sends his brother to get off with the room mate so that she won’t think anything of her friend getting taken away by a stranger. When Ana says “nice knowing you”, he breaks into her flat to convince her to stay. But he did bring wine so that makes it OK, right? Oh, and he sells her car without her permission.
Then there’s the infamous, “Are you going to make love to me now?” / “I don’t make love. I fuck. Hard!” exchange (that actually made me laugh), before he actually does something that resembles “love making” and then sleeps in the same bed as her. That’s something he’s only done twice in his life, btw, and both times were with her (first was when she was unconsciously drunk). Obviously, this makes her feel special. She’s already seen the red room of torture by now, and is trying to figure out whether she wants to be a part of it or not. Then his mother shows up. That’s the adoptive mother, mind, not the crack whore who died when he was four.
Hold on a minute…
If none of the other signs so far have cried “mentally unstable man”, then the meeting with his adoptive parents is a wake-up-call. She says she’s going to Georgia to see her mother. He loses his shit and takes her into the garden. She asks if he’s pissed off. He confirms and wants to know why she didn’t tell him. She says she’s allowed to make her own decisions, which makes him raise his hand to slap her. He controls himself, then says, “You’re mine, all mine, do you understand?!” Wow. Really?
Then he shows up – in yet another state – when she meets her mother. Unannounced. Stalking, much? Obsessive, much?
It all explodes in a final scene where she’s pissed off that he’s being distant and he’s pissed off cause she’s a normal human being. He says he has a darkness inside of him and that makes him want to punish her. Or something to that effect. She asks if he wants to punish her then and there. Again, he confirms. She says he should show her how bad it could get. So he strips her, bends her over a table and demands her to count the lashes he serves her with a thick leather belt.
…am I being groomed?
It didn’t take long for me to realise that both she – and I – were being groomed by this “charming man” throughout the film. At times he manages to be… sweet. And he’s worried about her, right, so he makes sure she’s looked after and makes all her decisions for her, buys her a computer so he can be in touch with her all the time, he sells her car and replaces it with a new one without her knowledge, he shows up unannounced because he just can’t stay away from her, he’s breaking his own rules because she’s all he wants, he says he’s becoming a changed man – all because of her.
To be completely honest, by the end of the film I felt uncomfortable. Not because it’s about sex – because it’s not, really. What I don’t understand is how this has been branded as BDSM, when in reality it’s plain abuse – masked as BDSM. He doesn’t beat her because it turns him on, he beats her because of “the darkness inside” and – to quote him – because he’s “fifty shades of fucked up”. I’m preeeetty sure the basis for a healthy BDSM relationship is trust, mutual consent, mutual pleasure and levelheadedness. This guy is one step away from being locked up. He’s only really still wandering around because he’s able to fool people into thinking he’s Mr Cool – when in reality he’s pretty much a mentally disturbed abuser who could be given at least a handful of diagnoses.
Wrong genre, surely…?
If this film had a different, darker background music, was branded “thriller” and ended with him getting a bullet between his eyes, it would have made more sense. It reminds me a little of “The Resident” where Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a mentally disturbed fella who’s obsessed with his tenant, Hilary Swank. He and Christian Grey are very much alike in the way their minds work – but the difference is that “The Resident” is an honest thriller with a very different ending.
Instead, “Fifty Shades…” came out on Valentine’s Day. The day we’re supposed to celebrate romance.
What worries me a little is that teenagers will watch “Fifty Shades of Grey” and think this is acceptable behaviour from a man. The author has already said in interviews she gets emails from girls who thank her for sexually liberating them. Don’t get me wrong, being sexually liberated is all good and well, but not when it comes with a partner who beats them because he can’t control himself. That’s not BDSM. That’s plain abuse.