Take note, this blog post contains spoilers.
I never read the Fifty Shades of Grey book series. For some reason, it didn't appeal to me. One day, curious at all the hype about the books, I read the sample on Amazon to see what it was like. I didn't really take to her writing and didn't even complete it. Maybe it's because I'd heard so many negative things about the book, I don't know. I mean, some of the quotes and comments have made me laugh at their ridiculousness.
Anyway, when the movie came out, I thought, mmmh, I'm keen on watching that. A movie is shorter to get through than a whole book which isn't written well in my opinion, and I'd love to see what drew people to this story so strongly. I think the thing that's so amazing is people either love or hate the book. It creates strong reactions. So, we bought the movie. And we watched it in three stages as we were quite busy at the time and could only do it when the kids weren't around.
I decided to watch this movie with an open mind. When it first came out in the cinemas, there was such an outcry against it saying that it promoted abuse of women and that Christian Grey is an evil, sadistic monster, etc. I thought maybe this movie was a bad thing. Yet, I still wanted to watch it for myself. I wanted to judge it with my own eyes. It was hard to cut out all the opinions but I did and I've decided to review the movie on my blog.
First, I have to say, I love the music. I think it's so romantic and beautiful and would love a CD of it. The acting was top class as were the directing, props, plot. It flowed, it kept me hooked, it had just the right appeal. People have said the movie's not romantic and it's not a love story. Really? Have they watched it? With every love story, there's that initial spark, then the conflict, and finally the happy ever after. Okay, this movie didn't end happily because they want us to watch the next one and the next, but it had all the other markings of a good romance - plenty of chemistry, that falling in love feeling, and plenty of conflict.
Let's talk about the conflict and the idea that Christian is abusive.
I think to a degree, Christian appears to be a strange guy. He's not your usual romantic hero, but he's sexy and he meets a need deep inside of Anastasia to be seduced. She's a virgin and has never had a sexual relationship before. She's pretty innocent, but she's hungry. Very hungry. And Christian fills that hunger. He teaches her things and he makes her feel sexy and feminine and needed. He meets that dormant but strong sexual desire within her. Don't we all want that? And in the movie, most of the time, he's incredibly gentle and sexy. Nothing off-putting about his love-making methods.
I kept on waiting for him to do something really evil, but every step of the way, the only bad things were his inability to connect emotionally with Anastasia. I don't know about you, but I think a lot of men struggle with that to a certain degree. Men are taught to be strong and not to cry, not to express weakness. Especially those who are high up in the business world like Christian. That conditioning causes problems. They battle to talk about it when they're down. They struggle to let go and let their women know all their fears and weaknesses. Anastasia changed that in Christian. She stirred a desire in him to have intimacy. Isn't that what a true love story is about - how love changes us? Christian fought with himself and she began to win. But not enough. How sad!
In the end, he does do something to Anastasia that's clearly disturbing. And she runs! But it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. Yes, his behaviour was not indicative of a safe dom/sub relationship at all. It was hurtful and abusive, but not seriously so. I don't know what he did in the book, but the movie must have played it down significantly.
The message I get from the movie is that love is often unconditional. Anastasia loved Christian, despite his hurtful behaviours. Being in a long-term relationship, you realise that the person you love does have faults (don't we all?) and sometimes may hurt you deeply. Maybe not intentionally, but still it happens, because we are both flawed human beings, individuals with different ways of seeing the world. Do we stop loving a person because they hurt us? Seldom. It does happen when the hurt is excessive. I see in this story that Anastasia falls in love with a wounded man. She doesn't know how to deal with the hurts that he gives her. Maybe he is controlling, but it doesn't seem like severely so. I'm not condoning abuse. I think I may have run too if I had been faced with the man. I worry that young women will think that they can change an abusive man to a good man by just loving him. But I do see the pull of the story, and overall, it was a thoroughly entertaining movie to watch. For mature adults, who know the difference between an abusive or safe relationship, this movie is worth viewing. (And for those who aren't offended by explicit sexual images and speech.)
I think the script-writers and directors made a diamond out of the rough of E.L. James' book. I'm looking forward to the next movie.
Oh, and Jamie Dornan was so-o-o cute. His acting was superb! He portrayed Christian's internal struggles perfectly and made him appealing to the critics. That's what I think. Have you seen the movie and what did you think?