I went to watch the much-hyped “Fifty Shades of Grey” at the cinema, mostly out of curiosity but also to see if there was anything new this old dog can learn. I think it should be re-titled “The Contract”, as that seemed to be Christian Grey’s main hang-up throughout the entire arduous 2 hours plus. Maybe he’s suffered through litigations before.
If you don’t like spoilers, look away now. Really, you shouldn’t mind, seeing as the books have been out for years now. I have all 3 of E L James’s books, (got them from my local thrift store), but I couldn’t get past the first 3 chapters of the first book. The style of writing just didn’t gel with me, and I soon got very tired of Anastasia Steele’s vacillating between “Should I/Shouldn’t I sign the contract and become Christian Grey’s Submissive”. Which is another reason why I decided to watch the film instead – to find out what happened after the first 3 chapters…
Hmmpf. I wasn’t too impressed by it, to be honest. Much ado about nothing, and then there’s the message that comes across. It claims to be about BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism and Masochism), but in reality it’s nothing more than glammed up rape and narcissistic blackmail. The poor girl.
Christian Grey is hot and eligible because he’s a young billionaire. So naturally, this makes him a babe magnet, or so you’d think. He makes every woman swoon with his sharp suits, big eyes and youthful Colin Firth looks. Besides, he owns a fleet of flash cars, knows how to fly planes and helicopters and god knows what else. Money is no object to him. He can do what he likes, when he likes. Doesn’t seem to work much, but obviously worships at the Cult of Apple, judging from the various gadgets he plays with. He even gives Anastasia an Apple Mac laptop when hers breaks down. The guy oozes capitalism and materialism. He’s clearly one of the Elite at the top of the pyramid. He pursues Anastasia Grey relentlessly, even though she’s clearly just a down to earth girl, confused about his intentions and even more so about his aloofness. He won’t let her touch him, but wants to play with all parts of her body, especially when it involves being tied up or handcuffed to the bedposts. Likes to dish it…but can he take it?
Not likely. I kept hoping throughout the film that Christian Grey would change and learn a thing or two about Love. But nope. It was all about him, him and him. His needs. His desires. His intentions. His pleasure. What about HER needs? He tells her that she’ll get pleasure out of doing things his way, and that she’ll have all of him. At this point, alarm bells should have been going off like klaxons in her head. All of him? Are you serious??? But no, she plays along, out of curiosity, and also because for some reason she fancies him. But girl, how can you fall for a man who won’t let you into his personal life, who wants to treat you like a sex slave or plaything, who won’t even let you touch him, who tells you he doesn’t believe in romance or making love (he calls it “fucking hard” instead), and who wants to hurt and “punish” you even though you’ve done nothing wrong? Read the contract, girl – no hope of a happily married life with kids with this guy. It’s all about eating the right foods, no excessive drinking or doing drugs, taking contraception as prescribed by his doctor, behaving as he would like you to, playing his sick mind games, being at his beck and call. Letting him convince you that it’s what you want, when in actual fact, it’s just plain Rape.
He even tries to blackmail her into signing the Contract, by throwing in a sweetener: “Once a week we’ll do the things normal people do – like eating out or going to the movies” (or words to that effect – I wasn’t paying too much attention as I was busy trying to control my gag reflex). Sorry, mate – the things normal people do should be the norm, not the exception, in any healthy relationship. Walk away, girl!
The whole premise of the film is so wrong on so many levels. Part of me wanted to get up and exit the cinema, but the other part of me said “Maybe he does change for the better, maybe she shows him how to be a real man and love a woman. Maybe he grows up and stops being a total jerk”.
But he doesn’t. Towards the end of the film, Anastasia lets him whip her buttocks 6 times. And he sadistically makes her count each time out loud for him. He’s clearly getting off on it, but she’s just as clearly in pain, both physically and mentally. Apparently she’s come to her senses, and she finally does the right thing – she leaves. (But I hear there’s a sequel or two in the pipeline, they get married or something…poor thing).
Then, there’s the element of Obsessive Stalker Danger inherent in Christian Grey. Anastasia graduates from college and moves to Seattle with her roomie Kate. Barely has she settled in then one night she’s startled to find that Christian has let himself into her apartment. Trespass, anyone? But, because it’s Christian Grey, that’s okay then??? And she lets him throw her on the bed and have his wicked way with her? Rape, anyone? WTF?!
Christian gives Anastasia a brand new car as a graduation present. Why? She was perfectly happy with her battered old Beetle. She asks him where her car is, and he tells her his right-hand man has been tasked to sell it. Ummm…isn’t that theft? If your boyfriend did that to your car without your permission, you’d have him for stealing it. Again, because it’s Mr Perfect Christian Grey with his Billions, that’s perfectly fine?? I’d have socked him one right there and then. Where it hurts most. Control freak!
Anastasia goes to visit her mother in a different state. Christian shows up at the hotel, where she’s having cocktails with Mummy dearest. She can’t even have a bloody cocktail on her own. He steals her away to go fly a glider plane, which the stupid cow can’t see is merely him trying to impress her. FFS, the girl went to visit her mother to get away from you, and what do you do, you stalk her and follow her and whisk her away from her family?
Call me old-fashioned, call me a prude, but isn’t sex meant to be consensual between adults? When one party is bullied or coerced into doing things they don’t like or don’t wish to partake in, it stops being consensual. I don’t have any experience with S&M or Dominant/Submissive sex, so maybe the whole scenario above is OK with some? Whatever wets your whistle, then. But I think there’s plenty of guys out there who brought their girlfriends to watch this film, who are now thinking it’s alright to make their ladies do demeaning things just for their own pleasure, that their ladies should submit to them and allow themselves to be tortured in the name of sex…because if Anastasia allowed it and even liked it, they should too?
Well, I’m sorry. If a knight in shining armour came up to me and offered to take me away from it all, to start a new life with me and those most precious to me, of course I’d jump at the opportunity. But if said knight offered me nothing more than a good old roll in the hay now and then, a booty call, let’s leave our problems at home, let’s just have fun, etc etc …i.e it’s all to HIS benefit… Ummm, thanks but no thanks. It’s not sex that’s missing in my life, it’s good old intellectual conversation and a connecting of minds. Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn if I never have sex again. Way over-rated by men. Women want the Romance, the whole Happily Ever After thing. Not some twisted, sadistic game of Let’s Waste Each Other’s Time. You want the woman, you jolly well woo her with bells attached, and you don’t make her do things that YOU like, you do things that you BOTH like, you make plans for the future, you tackle problems head on instead of sweeping them under the carpet and pretending they don’t exist. Have some RESPECT, clearly something that’s missing in the relationship between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.