Fifty Shades of Nope
In popular culture, it seems that while some phenomena come and go quickly with the changing trends, there seems to be others that we just can’t quite shake off. Select films, books, and music become virtually unavoidable, and arouse such interest in them that they become household names. The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, written by E.L. James, is no exception.
Published in May 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey the novel rose into fame (or perhaps, infamy) for its sexually explicit story of the young Anastasia Steeles, who catches the interest of business extraordinaire Christian Grey. Fifty Shades sets itself apart from the typical romance novel by exploring the sexual practice of BDSM, Christian being the dominant, and Anastasia as his submissive.
The trilogy received criticism for depicting Christian, and Anastasia as being in an unhealthy relationship, not for their sexual deviances, but for Christian’s aggressive nature outside of the bedroom. Stalking, controlling, and censoring Anastasia are among the offences that Christian is charged with. If the novels received some of the criticism, the film’s release brought the franchise fully into the limelight.
With the release of the film came the availability of the novel to general public. Many fans of the book were disappointed by the film’s inaccurate portrayal of the characters, and the overall response was not generally positive. All personal opinions on the book and story aside, the film itself lacked the cinematic quality that could have been its saving grace.
Poor chemistry between Anastasia (Dakota Johnson), and Christian (Jamie Dornan) highlighted the inconsistencies between the two characters, and the acting of Johnson and Dornan did nothing to help the cause. In addition, the production neglected to include important parts of the plot that may have improved the reception of the relationship between Christian and Anastasia.
Instead, the film received backlash for their considerably toxic relationship. Christian is dominant in and outside of the bedroom, and he excuses his oppression of Anastasia with his past trauma of sexual abuse. The novels at least include enough detail to create multi-dimensional protagonists, but the film’s Christian and Anastasia are single-faceted characters, forced into gender-binding relationship roles.
Celina Fazio, Online Contributor
Graphic: The Atlantic