You might ask why I would attend a 50 Shades of Questionable film based on the underdeveloped characters of a far from quintessential novel series, and my only answer would be c.u.r.i.o.s.i.t.y.
I needed to see for myself whether even the best of screenwriters could create meaningful dialogue from, well, what they had to work with.
What I discovered is that helicopters and gliders make breathtaking romance when expertly and artistically filmed for the big screen. Those two scenes encompassed the only tension and titillating sensations this movie had to offer.
What the film mainly did is create disturbing questions that I have no answers for. Those dark thoughts about everything wrong with Shades of Grey have kept me awake recently more hours of the predawn than most horror flicks.
For starters, why would any woman, let alone lots of women want to stare at a 20-something naked female for nearly 20 minutes while being victim to and humiliated by an older, rich and relationally challenged male? IS THAT SEXY? IS THAT EVEN OKAY?
The mother of 50 Shades star Dakota Johnson is actress Melanie Griffith, who starred in a 1992 movie called Shining Through. One of my favorite all time films, it literally oozed romance and sexual tension between Melanie’s character and the hero, played by Michael Douglas.
There was no explicit nudity and no humiliation. These two courageous characters had an all consuming love for one another that grew out of mutual admiration and respect, beginning with their camaraderie regarding a shared WW2 mission to help their country.
Meanwhile, right now in 2015, Melanie’s daughter is starring in a film where she is exposed as a sexual object strictly for a controlling, power-hungry man’s gratification, and we are calling this a love story. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?
‘Shining Through’ was about finding love amidst heroism and sacrifice to help others during a time when women’s rights were lagging behind what they are now, in lieu of the disturbing narcissism of our non hero, and the even more disturbing naiveté of our non heroine from 50 Shades of Wrong, over 20 years later, when equality should have moved forward rather than digressing!
This Shady flick has been made during a time when violence against women is a huge issue worldwide, and yet WOMEN are causing these books and this film to make millions of dollars surrounding a subject matter they should be running away from- not toward.
I asked a lot of different women why they read the books, and they all gave me the same answer. “The sex was boring, but I kept reading because of the love story.” Hmmm. So with thousands of great writers writing books full of tension-filled chemistry between well-developed and interesting heroes and heroines, women are choosing to read this series for a love story filled with countless annoying clichés and two very underdeveloped main characters…. why?
Apparently, it was worth forging forward to see if Ana could cure Christian of his need for total dominance over women, and to discover what abuse he encountered to cause such beastly behavior in him. Lest you see a beauty and the beast theme here, however, let me remind you that just the opposite of Christian Grey, Disney’s beast was physically gentle toward his fair maiden, despite a beastly appearance.
For me, it became increasingly harder to see Ana as anything other than a very naïve young woman who had succumbed to the wiles of a wicked (albeit abused) heart simply because she was so stricken by his ‘princely’ appearance and traditional ‘royalty’ attributes such as power, wealth, and dominance over his kingdom.
Taking all of that into account, what does the popularity of this series say about our society? Well, if you want my opinion (in case you weren’t sure yet what that is) I think it says 50 shades of the wrong thing. Now just how dismally ‘Grey’ is that?
But take heart!
I saw another film recently and it gave me hope for the right kind of romance between strong empowered heroines and good-deed driven heroes. What was this amazing film you ask? Why, Cinderella, of course. Now you might think a Disney flick such as that could not be hopeful. We all know that Prince Charming would need a Christian Grey type flogging to be transformed into what Disney would have us believe men naturally are, at least in the prince department.
However, there were some valuable takeaways from the Cinderella story. The two main themes were courage and kindness, emphasizing that both mean forgiving others for having neither. The courage to believe in yourself, and to believe that kindness can triumph over cruelty were also important points made in the movie. Perfect themes for a four year old! (And by the way, taking a little girl to this show is simply golden for time well spent. I highly recommend it!)
Watching the fairy godmother turn a pumpkin into a carriage and mice into horses was more exciting than leather riding crops and peacock feathers being used inappropriately. The scene was positively enchanting! Cinderella and the prince dancing at the ball took my breath away, whereas seeing a young maiden unclothed in 50 Shades just made me want to cover her up and have Christian Grey locked in the attic instead of Cinderella.
Perhaps we should lock everyone who bought the novels in the attic as well, with a stack of better books to read than 50 Shades of anything that sets women back rather than moving them forward in our quest for equality.
Or, we could just have the courage to forgive them, out of kindness… and hope that they improve their reading habits. (;
Kathryn’s next novel is coming soon… September 2015.
Personal blog and website: http://kathrynmattingly.com Edgy Words Unleashed
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EILN6YE