“Fifty Shades of Grey” through my eyes
How is this movie perceived? That like every other situation perhaps on which personality hat you wear and don’t forget that this hat doesn’t have a single colour but many shades of grey too. The moralist would perceive it as too much display of sex and few levels further down could qualify it as porn for sure in my opinion. The hopeless romantic would qualify the movie as the lack of love and total misery. The sexually starved and repressed might want to watch the movie for the stimulating sex scenes. And it might be true that the movie could be selling only for its sex scenes because sex sells well. In my opinion, watching this movie demands a lot of maturity and seasoning, not just in age but in the mind.
I do not know what was the reason to release for Valentine’s Day. In my opinion, this is no Valentine movie. Perhaps it was a tribute to those caught in unhappy, complicated relationships.
The movie is based on a novel by E.L James. The script in brief is about a young billionaire Christian Grey(Jamie Dornan) who was born to a drug addict and a prostitute. His mother died when he was 4 and was adopted by a rich family. At the age of 15, he became a victim of sexual abuse to Mrs. Robinson, a friend of his adopted mother.The abuse continued for 6 years. His experiences with life leave Christian scarred making him a man with complete disinterest in romance and unsatiable desire to quench his lust to the fullest by dominant sexual encounters in his “Red Room” which is well equipped for domestic abuse with things such as bull whips, paddles and restraining cuffs. At the age of 27, when he is a billionaire, he meets Anastasia Steele(Dakota Johnson), a young literature graduate student who is interviewing him for the college newspaper in lieu of her roommate who is journalism student who is down with flu. There is something about Anatasia that intrigues Christian and makes her different in his eyes than the rest of the women that he has had. He begins stalking her in a caring but dominant manner. He showers her with attention and expensive gifts. She is in love with him and vulnerable in the beginning.He tries to get her in a sexual contract with him where he will be the “dominant” and she the “submissive” where he would push her limits to satisfy his lust to the peak. The contract states that the submissive will be punished in case she fails to observe the rules of the contract. Though the contract does not sound acceptable to Ana, she is in love with him and hopelessly wants to work it out with him. So, she organises a business meeting with him to strike out a few clauses in the contract which are not acceptable. In the period while Ana is still thinking about the contract, Christian is still stalking her and she is vulnerable to sexual encounters with him. Ana then wants to know what the punishment stated in the contract would mean. Christian then asks Ana if she is sure and when she agrees he whips her 6 times on her bare bottom. She is hurt and crying and realises that he cannot love her, that he is far too damaged to love her and leaves.
In my personal view, Dakota Johnson was amazing and is a very good actress and plays her role of a naive vulnerable college student very well.Jamie Dornan is average here. He should be an eligible distant billionaire bachelor who is distant at the same time “good with people”. But I personally think that Jamie is far too chocolatey for the icy cold personality demanded by the role.
What are the shades of grey then?
1. Christian’s inability to decide whether he would want to let go of his enormous lust to settle for a normal relationship with the woman he so much seems to want. Christian acknowledges that Ana is special to him. He tells her that she is the first person he slept next to, first woman to be photographed with, the first woman he introduced to his family as his girlfriend. But does he really mean all this, or is he just “good with people” as he told Ana in the interview? What seems really grey to me, is that Christian himself cannot understand whether he means what he does for Ana or if he is just doing it to to satisfy his thirst for dominant sexual encounters with her. He has built an image of himself in his mind as a person does not want to have romantic involvement but just very lustful dominant encounters and this image gives him some strength and it is very hard for him to let go of this image. Probably this image gives some strength to recover subconsciously from the time, he felt helplessly abused by Mrs. Robinson at the same time, he drew a lot of sexual pleasure from the abuse being a fifteen old who was about the age of puberty.
2. Ana’s vulnerabilty and confusion. The role of Ana is simply amazing and it perfectly depicts emotions that a woman in love goes through specially when she is in love with a man who she knows that can’t make her happy. The movie depicts perfectly well how she loses resistance to his stalking and gives in for a period of time. She is desperately hoping and trying to have a normal relationship with Christian. It depicts well, male chauvinistic nature where he just can’t take a no for an answer. When she says, she would like to leave, he says, her body tells something else manipulating her to think that he understands her well. It shows well how he forces on her in a way that can appear caring, protective and strong. Though Ana has a perfect rational understanding, that is isn’t the kind of relationship she would like to settle for, she is in love with Christian. He stalked her at a pub when she was drunk and took care of by bringing her into his hotel and changing her in new clothes when she vomited. He told her that he is incapable of leaving her alone. He slept next to her and told her that she is the only woman, he slept next to. When he gives the sexual contract to be signed, she attempts and hopes that she will have a normal relationship with her by calling in for a business meeting. He flies from Seattle to get her and takes on a ride in his private helicopter. He gives her expensive gifts. But she is quite bothered and finds it dominant that he sold her car without her knowledge and replaced with a new expensive car. And when she rolls her eyes at him because of this incident, he is highly displeased. But she is in love and she succumbs to his stalking, dominance and sexual encounters for a period of time, she is also falling prey to sexual pleasure that she gains from encounters with him.
What are the key learnings from this movie for me?
1. Every parent needs to be conscious of with whom their children are building relationship and what kind of relationships.The relationship with his mother’s friend left Christian as a damaged man wanting to reach the peak of his lustful desire dominantly and have no romantic associations.
2. It is so easy to mistake stalking and dominance for caring. Actually, the dividing line can be very fine between dominance and caring. When Christian flies from Seattle for Ana, takes her to his hotel and changes her clothes when she is soaked in vomit. Is this stalking or is this caring and protection or a bit of both? He then sells her car and replaces it with an expensive one. Is this caring or dominance? If it was caring, he would not have such a big problem when she rolled her eyes at him for doing this.
3. Hang on, time clears all confusion and doubts. Ana is always confused whether she is really special to Christian, whether she should go ahead and sign the contract with him, but hangs on and things clear up that she should not sign the contract with him when she asks him what is punishment as per the rules stated. Christians asks her if she is really sure and when she agrees, she whips her 6 times on her bare bottom. She realises that Christian is still ok, seeing her in such pain and that he could do this to her and that is when she walks away.
4. Never try to fix a man, walk away if he brings you unhappiness. When Ana realizes how damaged Christian is and how incapable he is of making her happy, she walks away. A common mistake that most women would have done would be to stay on and try to change the man and fix him. The need for change must come from within. Remember you cannot fix anyone. Stay with him or her if you can accept the person the way, he or she is. But if the yoke is too much on your shoulders of who the person is, hurt yourself no more, drop it and walk away.
Fifty shades of Grey is a very loud, bold movie that openly shows many grim realities of life. Most of us, would like to trash it as yet another sex selling movie, but for me, it still offered a lot to relate and learn.