From Lisa Wilkinson’s scathing review on the Today Show to other articles I’ve come across warning that this film glamorises violence, another claiming 50 Shades of Grey could “normalise abusive relationships” and today’s beauty, A Psychiatrist’s Letter to Young People About 50 Shades of Grey, which is a warning not to see it because this type of relationship (I hope you’re sitting down) is destructive and NOT NORMAL!
Now I don’t have a problem with movie reviews, but I don’t like over dramatisation of anything. As someone who has witnessed and experienced (to a lesser degree) domestic violence for a decade, these articles frustrate me. In light of recent real life events, awareness has been raised about domestic violence. It cannot be taboo. It must be stopped and we need to know what exactly what it is. What it isn’t, is 50 Shades of Grey.
Firstly, domestic violence isn’t a consensual practice written up in a contract for the other party to agree on. You don’t get to call out safe words when things are starting to get out of control and you want your partner to stop immediately. Domestic violence is not only physical violence but emotional abuse, of name-calling, the slow destruction of your self-esteem and threats so terrifying that you believe there’s no way you could possibly leave.
I don’t know what movie the critics were watching but I didn’t see anything like this in 50 Shades of Grey. I honestly can’t comprehend the backlash. If it’s about violence, I saw much more of that in the critically acclaimed Best Picture winner ‘The Departed’ and much more graphic sex in ‘Monster’s Ball’ of which Halle Berry took home Best Actress for her part. I’m not implying that 50 Shades of Grey should win any Academy Awards, but is depicting this movie as the most dangerous thing to ever happen to modern human relationships really warranted?
Secondly, it’s the first movie in a trilogy, and unless you’ve read the whole series and can place this first movie in context with where the story goes, you cannot judge it. Since when did we read books and watch movies expecting them to include perfect story lines and only healthy relationships? Why are people acting like this film is a documentary or an after school special on how relationships should look? My 17 year old niece saw it and I don’t for a second think that she walked out with a deranged view of love. I mean, were we this up in arms when Twilight was released? A beautiful romantic love story in which Edward’s natural desire was to drain Bella of all her blood and leave her for dead. No, of course not, because vampires aren’t real and it was fiction. Well, so is 50 Shades. Need further proof of this? In the book Anastasia achieves orgasm every time. Every. Single. Freaking. Time. Like a modern day Samantha Jones in Sex and the City and unless you’re a freak of nature, sorry to burst your bubble, but that just doesn’t happen.
To be perfectly honest, movies about sex and S&M doesn’t exactly run parallel to my Christian beliefs either, but hey, curiosity got the better of me. I read the books and the movie certainly didn’t leave me feeling dissatisfied with the intimacy in my marriage nor did it have me fantasising about some on-screen character. It was entertainment and although it wasn’t a comedy, there were plenty of unintentional laugh out loud moments, because everyone there knew how ridiculous some of the scenes were. If there is anyone out there watching 50 Shades and believing that the majority of healthy relationships look like that, then I certainly hope these same people aren’t going to be watching the new drama ‘How To Get Away With Murder’ and taking notes.
Finally, 50 Shades isn’t THAT shocking, I took my mother in law (a grandmother!) for goodness sake. If people choose not to see it – great! I’d just love to see everyone calm down about how ‘dangerous’ it is and give people a little more credit that they can be entertained by a movie, have a laugh and take it at face value, which is what millions of viewers (including myself) have done.
Tell me, did you see the movie and what did you think?