Reviewing Some Psychodrama With Porn: At the Cinema with 50 Shades

Starting with total honesty:

I read more about 50 shades and how it got successful, than actually reading the novels. I have remarked a couple of times that I do respect how the author gained a readership and was able to sell her material to the mainstream. Its pure business tactics and I respect that effort.

I couldn’t get past 2 pages of the first book. When the first movie came out I was half in disbelief: the book didn’t engage me, it’s mostly BDSM sex and not exactly mainstream. Like punk stuff. Only kind of painful and depressing. Even the intensity in the actors eyes and the fragile look of the female lead didn’t pull me in. In fact I thought they looked the part of dom and submissive.

As a title the thing engages you on a couple of levels: the number, the theme of humanity. Whether James was playing around with that aspect (I doubt it as fellow author to be) she hit a very good theme. Shades of grey, shades of humanity. Shades of the actual character being more than what he appears. While the actual theme of BDSM is controversial I must say the pure Public Relations behind it just keeps on going. That’s genius.

Running into that topic in public and online in chats, I was only a little surprised at the conversations that open up. Some guy thought it was then suitable to ask me if I liked to be tied up. I told him there’s no formula to that one.

Like it or not E.L. James has touched on sensitive points like trust, romance and relationships. Some guys like to dominate. Some girls like to think those roles of submission would spice up the sex. Then there’s the money and like someone rightfully said, had Grey been a trailer homo that stuff would have been illegal.

Upon reading the plots for all 3 books, I realize the lead female never worked for grey. Surprising, considering most romance novels depict that working relationship. I do respect and like how James slowly opens up in the trilogy – the relations Grey has between associates, his mum, an old – er – BDSM teacher and fling, there’s these twists that lead you to think this stuff is as complicated as real life (if you were a billionaire). However the plot also suggests how much a woman wrote the story – from how Ana leaves or defies or denies Christian and he goes whoa I think I need you and rescues and proposes to her. Explains his weirdness to her, has to deal with himself.

In that type of plot, I can actually buy how James only wanted a fun read for her fans. Because that’s not a realistic plot guys. For a guy to open up, to commit, to propose, to rescue – not exactly what 90% of our modern day studs would do with a girl. With the exception of a few male friends I know and those guys on married at first sight TV series.

But I will say that I had a bit of satisfaction finding out that Ana left the whole situation in the end of the first book. When a guy is outa line contract or no….. you gotta put your foot down.

And these guys end up married! Not only does Ana say yeah ok but she gives a jewellery in the shape of yes by the end of the second book. Good one James.

Dramatic scenes and some serious issues followed by dramatic highs – pure junk entertainment.

There is research to suggest a quarter of the readers have been in abusive relationships… to me that seems like common sense because what type of peaceful relationship would engorge in such a novel?

But wait. There is evidence to suggest James never had her female lead orgasm – now that to me…. doesn’t make sense. Ok my bad – in the book James makes female orgasm obvious. In the movie it’s about Grey and his movements. In fact one of the reasons behind the mainstream appeal is that people finally read about a girl getting off. Obviously. Explicitly. Plainly.

I will not be part of the confusion as to why James is good/bad/mediocre/successful. It’s largely a matter of BDSM appeal and understanding point of view and how the material is translated novel to film – a universal issue, actually.

The larger aspect of all this crazy appeal through the movie (and just like reading porn on kindle presents some lines blurring) I believe is the overarching patriarchy of as the article suggests, high sexual content not including female orgasm – because that’s mainstream anyway in movies that are rated PG with moderate sexual themes? – the relevance of Grey overriding his own rules and sending mixed signals (modern romance right there in my opinion), beating and being angry at Ana despite her denying him x, y, z. and don’t get me started on that whole billionaire being dominant thing. Bit cliché if you have ever read a few romances but James makes it work.

I will admit the larger part of me digging for info is lack of proper entertainment AND the fact that I like how Ana stands up to Grey in the Fifty Shades Freed film trailer. It just appeals to me as a person.

The Movie 50 Shades Freed:
A little 2D. Basically a story of rich people problems. 2/3 to 1/3 of the plot has sex (no surprise) but I have to admit it doesn’t fit thriller or BDSM or romance genres, or even fantasy or adventure. There’s just not enough juice or focus to pidgeon hole it anywhere. Not the plot, not the actors or cinematography (camera angles).

It doesn’t even target a specific audience – friends and couples, they just want to see something different. I get the impression E.L James definitely succeeded in creating a light entertainment but it’s also as if she has never been in a real partnership or seen a rich partnership. For that I recommend Jackie Collins, she (was) a pro. Why? Because there are no real common life problems going on, neither do you witness a deep relationship.

Actually what the movie does very well is make you laugh about the crimes because those 2 go at it so crazy that they have more tools than their own bloody security – and one of the few times the movie got any reaction from our cinema audience.

Every time Grey got angry, scared or possessive at something I had to laugh, because what else do you expect for a man with his habits. Just a little fantastical that EL James got him to marry Anastasia, that to me is part romance novel. I also think I disagree with that whole comment “if Christian was poor he would be committing many crimes”. The poor can’t afford epic pleasure rooms and they are the least likely to get bored of normal sex.
Ergo, rich people problems. A psychodrama.
Going in I did expect some light entertainment and 5% dark stuff in relation to sex. I decided to give the movie the benefit of the doubt because some films can portray scenes better than books, it happens. Most importantly I wanted to take my mind off reality for a moment. I came out grateful my family has no psychological issues.

Despite the wealth in scenes the plot is portrayed as one guy with issues and this girl essentially saves him by sharing his habits and …going with it.
I paid 20 bucks for the ticket and would say it was worth 5 bucks – the chairs to my surprise, changed into reclining leather chairs and I would still give the whole “entertainment” experience a couple of bucks. Exactly 1/6th of the cinema was full. I remember the days when people sat on the steps, cinemas were so packed – back in the days of Star Wars and LOTR.

Erotica and pornography:
You will find better love scenes such as in Basic Instinct. But half of the scenes are explicit pornography, which I believe in a way doesn’t do erotica or BDSM much justice as you cannot connect to 2D actors. And what I mean by that is, transactional actors. There is no feeling involved, just primitive animalistic drives. This is not art, literature, science, or anything even new within the theme.

I’ve said it, you are welcome to hate me. I can take your views, but I have all rights to disagree with them 😊

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