This past Valentine’s Day Weekend, the anticipated film adaption of the 50 Shades of Grey book trilogy hit theaters, becoming an instantaneous block buster smash (the holiday weekend brought in over $237 million dollars worldwide, shattering previous records.) If for some reason you’ve been under a rock, or were fortunate enough to avoid the promotion of the film, 50 Shades of Grey is an erotic romance focusing on the relationship of a wealthy, attractive and emotionally elusive 27 year old Christian Grey, and a 21 year old college student named Anastasia ‘Ana’ Steele.
While the film was a box office success, and serves as obvious proof that sex sells, the film had mixed reviews before it even hit theaters. Movie critics have called out the film’s lack of originality–writer of the trilogy, E.L James, who also happens to be a fan of the Twilight saga, originally created the trilogy as a work of fan fiction. So far, IMDb rated the film a poor 4.1 stars out of 10 from 67,715 users , Rotten Tomatoes gave it one star, with a 25% rating, and Susan Wloszczyna, writing for popular movie critic Roger Ebert’s website wrote:
“The thinking behind this choice [of the lack of nudity] is likely that the majority of the millions of women who bought the pop-lit phenomenon would rather revel in the romantic fantasy of a brainy lass trying to tame a broken man than fixate on the sight of male genitalia in the flesh.”
In addition, boycotts of the film took place around the country opening weekend, with protesters critical of what the 50 Shades franchise suggests. Bringing in celebs like Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan didn’t seem to get moviegoers on board with a film that glorifies abuse as a sexed up fantasy.
You be the judge–here’s a list of the top 5 complaints of 50 Shades of Grey.
1. BDSM is depicted as a sign of a troubled past.
Photo Credit:Flickr user Cold Storage via Creative Commons
Christian Grey grew up in a broken home. His mother, a prostitute, subjected Grey to drugs, abuse and neglect as a child. As a result, he creates unhealthy relationships with vulnerable women through sex play, blaming his upbringing for his fascination with BDSM culture. Those whose first introduction to BDSM culture is through the film, will unfortunately get a misconstrued perception of kinky sex play, which can lead to some unhealthy and even really abusive relationships. Truth is, you don’t have to be a crazy narcissistic psychopath to enjoy being tied up and spanked by your [consenting] lover. Who knew?
2. Christian views Ana as exclusively his
When Ana decides to make an unexpected trip to see her mother without informing Christian, he explodes, telling her she is not allowed to make plans without his consent. This troubling theme of ownership plays throughout the entire film, causing for some cringe worthy scenes. In her new relationship, Ana no longer has autonomy over herself. As blogger Jenny Trout stated: “the relationship at its core is a predatory, abusive one between an aggressive stalker and his victim.”
[RELATED POST: 7 Early Warning Signs You’re In An Abusive Relationship]
3. Writer E.L James refers to domestic violence concerns as ‘trolls’
After the book ‘s popularity grew, readers brought to James’ attention their concern over what they perceived to be the glorification of domestic violence. When addressed to James on Twitter, rather than addressing their concerns like an adult, James blocked naysayers, dismissing them as trolls.
4. Christian coerces Ana into a sexual relationship she may not be prepared for.
Ana and Christian’s first sexual encounter was Ana’s first time having sex. Christian keeps it real by letting her know about his BDSM lifestyle, but rather than asking her if she’d be a willing participant, he tells her of how things are going to be between the two. From the beginning, Ana has no say in her sexual exploits, and can leave lasting and damaging impressions towards sexuality.
5. Christian controls every aspect of Ana’s life
Using his wealth, Christian purchases the company that Ana works at so he could be her boss. In another scene, when Ana drunk dials Christian, he takes her home, chastising her how she treats her own body. He controls every aspect of her life, leading her Ana to feel isolated from friends, family, and even her own thoughts.
One can only hope this will be the only film adaption to the trilogy, but seeing as Universal owns the rights to all three books, only time will tell.