I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, so it wasn’t until earlier this year that I found out the main character is named Anastasia Steele. Which, I’m sorry, is a fake as fuck name. But it got me excited that maybe this story was worse than I thought. It was.
Before I get any further, I need to address one major thing. Even though I hadn’t read the book, I obviously knew about it. That it was a spawn of Twilight fan fiction, it involved BDSM, middle-aged women loved it, and the main character was an Edward Cullen-esque gorgeous guy. When Christian Grey first appeared on screen, I knew it had to be him, but only because he was a guy in a suit in Christian Grey’s office. Because this man was . . . not what I was expecting. I was expecting a masculine, stop-you-in-your-tracks handsome, suave guy. THIS IS WHAT WE GET INSTEAD:
This dude just looks like a dad from the 90s to me. Fluffy hair, weird mouth . . . really throughout the movie I was distracted at how the left half of his face looks like it’s paralyzed from a stroke. Would you really stop your life for this guy? Really?
Okay, anyway. We meet Anastasia “Ana” Steele, a college senior majoring in English lit. When we see her, she’s getting ready for an interview with Christian Grey, which I at first thought was a job interview but they reveal really late that she’s interviewing him for her school paper on behalf of her sick roommate. Literally as soon as the door to Christian’s office opens, Ana falls on her face. I think this was supposed to establish her “realness” but actually made it look like she couldn’t function as a human. The interview is painful; she doesn’t have a writing instrument and immediately starts chewing on the pencil Christian gives her, which obviously turns him on. She robotically reads him generic questions, seemingly without reading them first as she asks “Are you gay?” and then immediately looks down at her paper, confused and says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t write these.” UH but are you not reading them and saying them aloud? Anyway, they have a cringe-worthy exchange that goes something like:
Christian: Some people say I don’t have a heart.
Ana: Who says that?
Christian: People who know me well.
OOOOO YOU ARE SO DARK AND BROODY, CHRISTIAN! Later in the interview, Ana says she doesn’t believe that there are people who know him well, which makes Christian immediately cancel his next meeting because he is now suddenly obsessed with Ana. When she tells him that she’s an English lit major, he says, “Tell me, was it Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy who first made you fall in love with literature?” Christian, please excuse me while your condescending nonsensical comment said only to prove you are aware of three 19th century writers makes me THROW UP ALL OVER YOUR STUPID SUIT.
When she gets home, she learns that Christian has emailed Ana’s roommate detailed responses to all the questions, to Ana’s surprise. Later, we see Ana at work at a hardware store. By the way, Ana lives in Vancouver, Washington, and Christian lives in Seattle, Washington. So while working at this hardware store in Vancouver, she turns a corner to see Christian standing there, staring at her. Because you see, he was in the neighborhood to pick up some things. How he knew she worked there, we’ll never know. He buys serial killer supplies, such as rope and cable ties, and leaves her his card to schedule a photoshoot for the article. During the photoshoot, Christian literally does nothing but stand there and stare at Ana. “How about a smile this time?” the photographer asks, as Christian completely ignores him and continues to stare at Ana. There are only four people in this room, by the way, and Ana is only standing a few yards in front of Christian. After the photoshoot Ana and Christian meet to get coffee. The date seems normalish, until before Ana can have her coffee (or eat her tasty-looking muffin), Christian straight up leaves. Outside, he tells her that he never has girlfriends and that she should stay away from him. Sounds reasonable!
Except a few days later Christian sends Ana a package that contains first edition copies of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. When Christian asked that vomit-inducing question, Ana’s response was Hardy, so I get where Tess of the d’Urbervilles comes from. But I like Thomas Hardy too, but I wouldn’t necessarily want a super creep who might murder me to send me first editions of any of his books. And the fact that he sends her the books right after he literally tells her to stay away from him is also a super creep move. Immediately forgetting this, Ana and her roommate go out drinking, where Ana drunk dials Christian while she’s in line for the bathroom. Christian can’t even handle this in a relatively normal way; we can assume Ana is at least 21 because she is about to graduate college, and yet Christian still repeatedly asks “Have you been drinking?” And then tells Ana to stay where she is because he’s coming to get her. Which would be great if she were alone wandering around somewhere, but she’s just in a club. Regardless, Christian shows up, saves Ana (from herself?) and . . . brings her to his hotel room. The next morning, Ana wakes up in his bed. “Did you undress me?” She asks. “I didn’t really have a choice,” Christian says. Uhhhhhhhh . . . sorry dude, SHE is the one that didn’t have a choice, THANKS TO YOU. If I had to choose between sleeping in my clothes or having a maniac undress me while I’m unconscious in his bed . . . uhhhh yeah. Luckily, Christian refrained from having sex with/raping Ana. WHAT A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR!
Naturally, Ana and Christian start “dating” after that. And by dating I mean Christian makes her sign a non-disclosure agreement that forbids her from discussing their relationship and he’s 100% only into and willing to do BDSM. This comes as a shock to Ana who is, unshockingly, a virgin. Is it crazy to graduate college a virgin? Of course not. Though, if I didn’t I sort of find it hard to believe that anyone does. But still! I know it happens! But then Christian says something like “But you’ve done other . . .” to which Ana says no. Meaning she has never done anything sexual before. HAHAHAHAHA. Okay, no. Sorry. Everything we know about Ana tells us she’s smart, nice, attractive, and without any major weirdness going on. And she literally hasn’t done a single sexual thing when she’s probably 22 years old? No, sorry. Nope. But let’s say that is true and possible (because it is possible, I have to grant that). Christian then starts to probe about what turns Ana on . . . BUT SHE DOESN’T KNOW! So Ana is either a lesbian or asexual. Seriously, because I’m sorry, virgins know what turns them on, even if they are the most virginest virgins ever. If Ana is legitimately attracted to men, she should be able to give Christian a hint (I’m not talking big concepts here, I’m saying she could say she likes dirty talk or something) as to what she’s into. But, no of course she can’t. So Christian gives her the most precious gift of all . . . being devirgined by Christian Grey! THANKS CHRISTIAN!
Hopefully Ana enjoyed her vanilla sex that first night, because after that she’s presented with a contract by Christian that she must sign if they are to “continue” with their “relationship.” This contract outlines the fact that she will be his full-time submissive, which includes: only eating foods on a certain list, staying in a room in Christian’s apartment but never sharing his bed, and giving Christian sex whenever he demands it. Naturally, Ana is just a little hesitant about signing it, so she puts it off, even though Christian always hangs it above her head. He buys her a car and a new laptop, because Christian’s infinite bank account definitely has nothing to do with why Ana stays with him. Ana keeps suggesting that they be more of a couple, Christian keeps suggesting she sign his contract. When Ana tells him she’s going to visit her mother in Savannah (they most definitely didn’t film in Savannah, by the way), he shows up in Savannah unexpectedly with no invitation, because, again, he is a super creep. After Savannah, Christian keeps sending mixed signals by reminding Ana of the contract that explains they have a strictly sexual relationship while also doing things like taking her to dinner and bringing her to his parents’ house for a dinner party.
Now is a good time to note something important: it’s revealed in the initial interview Ana has with Christian that he was adopted at the age of four. The first member of his adopted family we meet is his brother, who immediately hooks up with Ana’s roommate. The second member we meet is his mother, who shows up unexpectedly at Christian’s apartment the morning after Ana spends the night for the first time. Weird? Sure. Overbearing? Definitely. Abusive? Eh, not so much. We meet the rest of his family at the dinner party, and despite being insanely rich they all seem fairly normal and well-adjusted. We also know from the countless scenes where Christian is shirtless that he has weird scars all over his chest, presumably from his past relationship where he was the submissive (more on that a little later). But one night Christian decides to pour his heart out to Ana while she’s sleeping, because I guess he thinks that counts. He tells Ana that his birth parents were abusive drug addicts and they caused the scarring, suggesting that they are the reason he can’t get close to people or have normal relationships. Now, I’m not a psychologist. I do know that severe abuse on really little kids can have lasting effects as an adult. But . . . really? Those are all the details we get so it’s all we have to go on. But are we really to believe that this unnamed abuse Christian experienced before he was four years old, before he was adopted by a loving and insanely rich family (and I’m sure his adoptive parents would have been aware of his birth parents’ issues if they adopted him when he was four) fucked him up so much that as a 27 year old he literally can’t stand to be touched in a loving way? Again, I know it’s not impossible. But I find that reallyyyyy hard to believe . . . plus the fact that he spilled all this out while he knew Ana couldn’t be listening is lame and doesn’t garner any sympathy from me.
Speaking of abuse, that relationship where Christian was a submissive? Yeah, that started when he “lost his virginity to” (aka was raped by) his mother’s middle-aged friend when he was fifteen. And it lasted for six years. Does it really not occur to Christian that maybe his fucked upness, especially about sex, might have more to do with a trusted family friend raping him and taking his virginity and proposing that he be submissive to this rapist for six very formative years than abuse-we-don’t-know-the-details-of inflicted on him when he was under four years old? Christian might be damaged and abused, but he’s also stupid.
Back to the plot, there are a bunch of sex montages and more back and forth between Ana and Christian on whether or not they’re a “real couple” and whether or not Ana will sign the contract. Finally, in the end, as a way to see what she’s getting herself into, she demands that Christian show her “how bad it can get,” meaning the sadism side. Christian is hesitant but agrees. I didn’t know what to expect at this point . . . but I imagined it involved some combination of hanging from the ceiling (possibly by the nipples), burning, maybe some blood. Because Ana and Christian are acting like he’s about to skin her alive. Instead, he has her bend over a table and count as he whips her with a belt six times. Now, I’m not saying this wouldn’t be painful or maybe shocking. But that’s the worst it’s ever going to get? I thought they were already way past that. But it turns out the belt was too much for Ana, because she cries the entire time and then pushes him away and tells her not to touch him. She storms out, he’s sad about it, THE END!!! Luckily there will be two more sequels to complete this compelling tale for us!
Two major non-plot points I had severe problems with:
Christian truly seems like a crazy killer. I knew he wasn’t going to kill her because of what movie this is, but everything within the movie points to him being totally psychotic and killing her. And I have to say, that took out a whole lot of sexiness and empathy for Christian for me. The thing is, watching this entire thing, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would ever watch this for sexual gratification over porn. The story and characters are laughable, so that’s not enough. At least with porn you know the guy isn’t going to kill anyone and any pain inflicted is consensual. A way less stressful experience than watching this.
And here’s my biggest issue: if you are going to make an erotic romantic drama that is primarily about sex and marketed primarily toward women . . . there better be some dick. It never happens of course, but this is just bullshit. We see Ana naked in every way possible, but we don’t get to see shit with Christian. Why the hell should any woman waste their time with a terrible movie all about sex when you don’t even get to see any dick????? Obviously this did not keep women away from the theater. But fuck that. It’s downright offensive in the context of this movie to not have equal amounts of female and male nudity.
Watch this movie if you want a good laugh because it’s probably much worse than you think. Do not watch this movie if you want to see some good sex scenes . . . save yourself the trouble and time and watch real porn instead.
I was definitely pushing for us to watch this so it was exciting when Elizabeth picked it up at a Redbox one day. Because of how popular this book was I was really excited that they decided to make a movie since I knew I was never going to read the book. I hear they’re different so I can only speak about the movie specifically. After watching the film, I was really only left disappointed.
I knew the movie was going to be bad but I thought we were at least going to get this amazing insane sex epic. I’m not super knowledgeable about BDSM but everything that was in this movie I thought was already general knowledge. I was expecting to learn stuff I had never even thought of before but it kind of felt like I was just watching the Sesame Street version of that lifestyle.
Especially the very end! He hit/spanked her maliciously, but wasn’t she expecting that at some point? Haha oh yea, my favorite part of the movie was how Christian gave Anastasia a computer to research the “contract” but when she sits down to go over it with him she doesn’t know what a butt plug is?????????????
The best part about this movie to me was how good it was at being stupid while wearing a serious face. Elizabeth told me what’s to come in the other two films so I cannot wait.