I watched the movie knowing the basic story line, yet I can’t compare the movie to the book; I’m not qualified because I haven’t read it. One thing I find interesting are the anti-50 Shades posts and links flooding social media, with claims the movie glamorizes abusive behavior—some sites even list chilling quotes from the movie to prove their point.
The efforts to discourage viewers obviously haven’t worked, considering how well the movie has been doing, and those claims haven’t been entirely accurate. For one thing, I don’t recall the chilling quotes in the movie, and if they were there, they must have been taken out of context.
I can’t speak for the books—but in the first movie, the male lead, Christian may have issues—but he never forced the female lead, Anastasia to do anything. When she said “stop”—he stopped.
I saw Anastasia as a sexually curious, naïve yet spunky young woman who experienced an instant chemistry with charismatic Christian. Her character shares a trait with many naïve women, in that she hopes to “fix” the man she is falling in love with.
I saw Christian as a screwed up, basically good person, unable to have a normal relationship—imprisoned by his sexual issues which stem from an abusive childhood.
Could their relationship (if they were real people) be a recipe for abuse? Certainly. But I don’t believe it is bad to explore—via literature or a movie—how such a relationship might spiral out of control. Anastasia was okay with a playful spanking and a little rough sex, but she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact Christian wanted to punish her, hurt her. I never felt the movie condoned abuse. If anything, it could be seen as a cautionary tale.
As for the acting, I think Dakota Johnson did a brilliant job. I loved her in the role of Anastasia.
The viewing I attended was sponsored by a local woman’s business group as a charity event, as part of a “lady’s night out.” The theater was packed—with women. By the response of the audience I don’t think the movie is swaying women toward submissive behavior. When Anastasia stood up to Christian at different points in the movie, or got sassy with him, the audience cheered. They also laughed at the many humorous parts, lines often delivered by the talented Dakota Johnson. When the movie ended, the audience groaned—they wanted more.
One of my male writing friends asked me about the movie. His wife wanted to see it, and he was afraid he’d find the sex scenes so lame he wouldn’t be able to resist commenting, thus spoiling her enjoyment of the film. For some reason he seemed to think the sex scenes would have a bunch of sappy dialogue. Uhh…no…in fact, I imagine a guy might find the sex scenes in the movie pretty hot. As for me, I was a tad uncomfortable watching them in a theater filled with other women. But, they weren’t (IMO) any racier than what we might see on an HBO show, like Game of Thrones. I’d feel more comfortable watching those type of scenes at home with my husband. It isn’t something I want to watch with a group of people.
Another “issue” expressed with the film is the outrage by some in the BDSM community who claim the movie doesn’t accurately depict their lifestyle. Umm…I didn’t know there was some sort of certification process for the BDSM lifestyle. As I mentioned in the previous post, James never claimed to be writing a how-to on BDSM. I am fairly certain that if you gathered up all those who claim to be part of the bondage and sadomasochism community, you’d discover there will always be factions pointing fingers at others, declaring they are not doing it right, therefore are posers.
This movie isn’t for everyone. For those who dislike graphic sex or sexual subject matter, you’ll probably want to skip this one. But if you’re concerned the movie glorifies abusive relationships, I wouldn’t skip the movie for that reason.
Will the second movie fulfill the haters’ prophecy and glorify domestic violence? I have no idea. I’ll have to wait and see for myself.