One thing that's bothered me ever since 50 Shades hit popularity - other than that existence of the books, that is - is the constant refrain of 'you can't criticize them without reading them!!' Which I strongly disagree with, to be honest. I've read several take-downs of the series (over here, for example) and I find that more than sufficient, along with the fact that people whose opinions I trust completely have eviscerated the books for the way they have romanticized an abusive, controlling relationship.
Yet still. 'You can't criticize unless you've read them!" And just, no. I am not willing to give up that much of my precious time. My wall would also probably suffer from having a book hurled at it more than once, too, and well, I rent. Probably not a good idea!
So what's a girl to do? Simple: watch the movie instead.
So that's just what I did. It only involved sacrificing two hours of my time rather than triple that, plus I don't seek to deliberately raise my blood pressure, so this was better for everyone involved.
I've had people tell me that the movie is better than the books in terms of the relationship depicted. That honestly distresses me because good fucking lord, people, the movie is BAD. I knew that the books were bad, even terrible, but now I am just left shaking my head at how god-awful terrible they must be!
So let's go through a few things here.
First of all, we have the downright ridiculous. Like there's a moment where Grey strips off his shirt, tells Ana that if she was his then she wouldn't be able to sit down for a week, followed by sexy-toast biting. Yes, you read that right. He does this lean towards her and takes a bite out of her half-eaten toast, and the cinematography make it clear that we are supposed to find this sexy.
Anyway, hilarious moments like that aside, the rest of the time I just spend being really pissed off. Listen, I love reading good BDSM. Not touched on much on this blog, but I do! It can be really hot to read about that sort of absolute submission and the heights of pleasure that can come along with it. None of that exists in 50 Shades.
Let's take Anastasia's virginity, for example. That would have most experienced doms backing off entirely, or at least slowing the hell down. Instead Christian gets all intense, says that they should rectify that. Ana agrees, and what follows might be the quickest deflowering I've ever witnessed. I'm pretty sure it took about five minutes of screen time and it felt like that was supposed to be *accurate timing*.
Virgin + five minute sex. Yeah, that sounds like a recipe for *disaster*, just saying. In this case I'm going to blame it on the cinematography because it seems like the scene in the books is longer.
Pesky virginity dispatched, that still doesn't change the fact that Ana's pretty inexperienced, which is another reason this damn movie pissed me off so much. Does Christian back off, sit down to have a serious talk about this with her, introduce her to things gradually, etc, etc? Nope. He just wants the bloody contract signed (btw, she doesn't know what a butt-plug is) and for her to be his. Nevermind that she shows no real interest in BDSM on her own, or that she obviously has no idea what she is getting into... Nope. Apparently none of that even makes Christian Grey pause for even a minute.
It's just all irresponsible, inaccurate, dangerous bullshit. BDSM is so much more than what was depicted in the movie and I can only imagine the impression that young teenagers and people in general are coming away with, now. It's just really gross and if E. L. James had done the slightest bit of research she could have done so much better.
When combined with Christian's stalkery behaviour (and the fact that he sold her car, wtf - I don't care that he bought her a new one, you don't just sell someone's property like that) it was just not something I would recommend to anyone.
Ironically enough, the end of the movie - which is likely intended to be a cliffhanger - was actually completely satisfying for me. Ana's had enough and she tells Christian that! And she leaves! She's standing up for herself and she has confidence! So you'll forgive me if I move forward pretending that that's how things really ended. Because you know, a story about a shy, unassuming woman gaining confidence and moving on with her life is far better than 50 Shades could ever manage to be.