The movie is set to be released just before Valentine's Day, and I am certain that it will be a box office smash hit. I already have several friends planning to see it the night it opens, either as a date with their significant other or with a group of friends.
Go. See it if you want.
Just don't do it blindly.
I'll probably end up seeing it at some point purely so that I can fully critique it, but not while it is in the theaters. I don't want to be throwing money at this.
I read the first book out of curiosity. I had to see what this story was that so many people were talking excitedly about, that women couldn't wait to download onto their e-readers.
I was vastly underwhelmed. Shortly after I finished it (which was a chore because of how poorly it was written), I wrote a review of it. You can read it here if you haven't already. Just be warned that it does include several spoilers about the book, as will the rest of this post. Don't go reading further and then try to blame me for spoiling something. That's on you, my friends.
Since I read the book and wrote my preliminary response to it, I've had a lot of time to think about it. Every time a commercial for the movie runs on television, my husband either cringes or laughs because he knows that it is going to get me all riled up again.
The book isn't just preposterous and poorly written, it's dangerous.
There are a few aspects of the movie specifically that I take issue with, though most of my problems with it stem directly from the book, not just the adaptation to the screen.
One notable scene missing from the film that stood out for just about everyone who read the book is the tampon scene. The tampon scene?!?! Yes, the tampon scene.
Again, if you haven't read it....well....that's not my fault.
In the book, Ana tells Christian that she is on her period, assuming that it will mean he won't demand that they have sex that day. Instead, he walks up behind her, reaches around, removes her tampon and begins to have sex with her.
I'm not sure what the officially on the record reason is that the scene wasn't included in the movie, but I'd assume it has something to do with the fact that it's so objectionable and so clearly across the line of what the audience could stomach. Either that, or a bloody tampon would just be too icky for a big screen.
And you know, we get more grossed out by an icky tampon than we do by coerced sex.
That's my major issue with the story, by the way. It's being sold as a love story, as some sexy tale of seduction. It claims to be an introduction to the BDSM world. It's not anything of that sort at all. It's really about a stalker and an abuser.
Domestic violence advocacy groups are urging a boycott of the movie.
There are instances, so many instances throughout the book, of times when Ana does not consent to what is happening between them. The most blatant is the scene where he beats her, then convinces her that it was something that he needed to do.
He tells her she can't leave him because he will find her.
He dictates to her that she needs to take birth control.
He pushes her into doing things she isn't comfortable with.
Does any of that sound romantic?
The BDSM community in particular is troubled by the book, by its vast popularity, by what people believe to be true about the practice of dominance.
Underlying every interaction in a BDSM relationship is one thing and one thing alone - consent.
With adequate consent, nothing is off limits. Fantasies can be explored, envelopes pushed, absolutely.
Without that consent, you don't have a dominant and a submissive, you have an abuser and an abused.
Oh, but it's okay because he's rich and takes care of her.
Oh, but it's okay because they supposedly fall in love.
Oh, but it's okay because she ends up going along with it.
No. No it's not.
This website has done an amazing job of showing just how messed up the book is with simple imagery and text directly from the story. I encourage you to check it out.
I don't care if he's devastatingly handsome or if he owns a jet, sexual abuse isn't sexy.