FIFTY SHADES OF GREY

"Eighty-Six Shades of Weird, Perverted, Silly, Irrational, Immoral, and Stupid Evil Nonsense"

NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

Summary:

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is a movie version of the infamous novel about a young woman who falls for a rich man who’s engaged in sadomasochism with a string of mistresses and wants her to become his next mistress. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is a weird, perverted, anti-Christian, and ultimately stupid piece of abhorrent nonsense that, sadly, is being hyped by too many crass, mindless, foolish, and utterly materialistic people in the mass media.

Review:

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is a movie version of the infamous novel about a young woman who falls for a rich man who’s engaged in sadomasochism with a string of mistresses and wants her to become his next mistress. It’s a weird, perverted and ultimately stupid piece of abhorrent nonsense that, sadly, is being hyped by too many crass, mindless, foolish, and utterly materialistic people in the mass media. It’s not that great of a movie, but some (if not many) impressionable people, especially youths, may be enticed into getting involved in such self-destructive behavior. The movie also endorses premarital sexual activity. So, although the woman in the story is a recent college graduate, this doesn’t mean that teenagers under 18, or even younger children, won’t be hurt by this movie. In fact, studies have shown that, despite the valiant and media-wise attempts of their parents and guardians, many children still have easy access to depraved books and movies like FIFTY SHADES. This is even more true today with the non-Christian and even anti-Christian worldviews of many people in the mass media, including our “news” outlets.

The first part of FIFTY SHADES traps viewers into thinking they’re watching some kind of harmless modern-day romance. Anastasia, an English lit major at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., agrees to do an interview for her sick roommate Kate, who works for the student paper. The interview is with a rich young businessman in Seattle named Christian Grey, who will be the speaker at their upcoming graduation. Christian gives her 10 minutes, but he’s clearly captivated by her and she with him.

As the graduation ceremony nears, Ana is surprised when Christian suddenly shows up at the hardware store where she works. She helps him buy rope, masking tape and cable ties. She says her friend, Kate, would like to get some photographs of him for the interview, and Christian agrees. Afterwards, he and Ana go out for a cup of coffee, where it becomes even more clear that Ana and Christian are attracted to one another. However, Christian mysteriously tells her that he’s not into romance and gruffly adds that she should stay away from him. His comments just intrigue Ana further, especially when he sends her a first edition copy of a Thomas Hardy novel and a couple other similar books to apologize for his behavior.

After finishing their final exams the next day, Ana and her friends go out bar hopping. Ana gets drunk and calls Christian to tell him off, but he’s upset she’s drunk, and tells her he’s coming to the bar right away to get her. Ana goes outside to get some air, but a male friend from school tries to tell her he likes her and asks for a kiss. Ana tries to refuse but the young man is insistent. Just then, Christian shows up and scares the guy off, but Ana gets sick and passes out.

The next morning, Ana wakes up in Christian’s hotel room. He assures her that nothing happened, but admits he would like to go to bed with her. She would have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, however, to prevent her from talking about anything they do together. After all, he’s a wealthy man who could be vulnerable to bad publicity, or worse, from any woman with whom he gets personally involved.

Although Christian has told Ana, “I don’t do romance,” he takes her on a helicopter ride back to Seattle to have dinner. She signs the non-disclosure agreement in his apartment, but he tells her there’s one other thing she needs to know about him. At that point, Christian shows Ana his “playroom,” which is full of sadomasochistic devices. He tells her that, not only doesn’t he do romance, he doesn’t “make love” and doesn’t sleep with any of his mistresses overnight. Ana is shocked by this information and tells Christian so, but she’s still clearly attracted romantically to Christian. He further tells her that, if she gets involved with him, they will have to draw up a “contract,” where she will agree or not agree to do certain specific sadomasochistic activities with him in his “playroom.” He adds that, in the contract, she will be the “Submissive” and he will be the “Dominant” who can order her about and “punish” her if she disobeys.

In discussing all this further with Ana and arguing that sadomasochism is not as bad as she thinks it is, Christian asks her what, in her previous sexual relationships, she didn’t like and what she did like. Ana informs Christian that she’s never met a man who attracted her enough to do anything sexual with, hinting that Christian is the first man she would consider for this role. At that point, Christian starts making love to her and even sleeps overnight with her in the same bed, things he just said he doesn’t do. Even so, he still urges her to sign a sadomasochistic contract.

Eventually, Ana gets such a contract from Christian. As she considers whether to sign the contract, they still see one another. First, at the graduation ceremony, and then at a party that Christian’s mother holds at her house. At one point, Christian informs Ana that his first sexual experiences were at 15, when a female friend of his mother’s made him her “submissive.” Thus, despite his perverse proclivities, Christian is depicted as a “sensitive” man with a troubled past of abuse. This just intrigues Ana even further.

The question then becomes, will Ana agree to sign Christian’s awful contract? And, how far will she let Christian go?

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY plays like a melodramatic, sensual romance. As such, it is a very clichéd example of a fluffy Hollywood romance, but one that’s rated a hard R and probably should be rated NC-17. The audience in the screening Movieguide® attended laughed at several points, especially in reaction to such corny lines like Christian’s melodramatic admission to Ana, “I’m fifty shades of fouled up” (he used the “f” word while saying this, but we have cleaned it up).

Not only is FIFTY SHADES OF GREY corny and clichéd at times, it also becomes somewhat silly and nonsensical. Although Christian tells Ana that he doesn’t do romance and doesn’t make love, that’s exactly what he does with her. So, even though he keeps telling her he can’t change his nature, the opposite seems to be true. In fact, when he admits to her that he’s a messed up person, it’s clear that, despite his protestations, even he recognizes that his affinity for sexual sadism is indeed perverse.

Another goofy thing about FIFTY SHADES (and this is also, apparently, in the novel too) is that throughout Ana’s relationship with Christian, she never uses the two “safe words” he gives her – yellow for he’s reaching her level of pain tolerance or red for “stop.” Thus, despite a whipping scene where Ana asks Christian to give her a taste of the worst punishment he might give her for failing or refusing to obey him, the movie shies away from getting into any of the more disturbing aspects of sadomasochism. Thus, in a way, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is like a soft porn advertisement FOR sadomasochism, making it look more tame than it probably is.

Ultimately, however, even the filmmakers seem to avoid full-out endorsement of sadomasochism. In fact, almost the whole story here is how Ana changes Christian, not how Christian seduces Ana into his perverted lifestyle. In fact, [SPOILER ALERT] at the end of the movie, Ana decides that the worst example of the things that Christian is prepared to do when he “punishes” a disobedient Ana, is not anything she wants to be a part of anymore. So, she implies that, if he truly wants a relationship with her, he’s going to have to stop his perverted lifestyle completely. Of course, in the sequel, Christian decides he can’t live without Ana and agrees to have a normal relationship with her. This leads to a marriage proposal where Christian behaves more like a Prince Charming. In the third book, they get married but Ana gets upset with Christian’s overprotective, controlling nature. Then, she gets pregnant, but Christian doesn’t want to have a child, at least not yet. This leads to a possible split between them, but they are reconciled when a man whom Christian fired for harassing Ana because she wouldn’t go to bed with him threatens the lives of Ana and Christian’s mother.

Although the book series eventually plays out like a more typical romance novel where the love of a “good” woman transforms a troubled man, a study of the FIFTY SHADES novels by a series of experts in “intimate partner violence (IPV)” shows that the trilogy displays all the negative signs of such harmful abuse. They write:

“Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction [in the novels], including: stalking (Christian deliberately follows Anastasia and appears in unusual places, uses a phone and computer to track Anastasia’s whereabouts, and delivers expensive gifts); intimidation (Christian uses intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding Anastasia to eat and threatening to punish her); and, isolation (Christian limits Anastasia’s social contact). Sexual violence is pervasive – including using alcohol to compromise Anastasia’s consent, as well as intimidation (Christian initiates sexual encounters when genuinely angry, dismisses Anastasia’s requests for boundaries, and threatens her). Anastasia experiences reactions typical of abused women, including: constant perceived threat (“my stomach churns from his threats”); altered identity (describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost”); and, stressful managing (engages in behaviors to “keep the peace,” such as withholding information about her social whereabouts to avoid Christian’s anger). Anastasia becomes disempowered and entrapped in the relationship as her behaviors become mechanized in response to Christian’s abuse” (Amy E. Bonomi, Lauren E. Altenburger, and Nicole L. Walton. “‘Double Crap!’ Abuse and Harmed Identity in Fifty Shades of Grey.” Journal of Women’s Health. September 2013, 22(9): 733-744. doi:10.1089/jwh.2013.4344, http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jwh.2013.4344).

Thus, even if the two sequels are less disturbing and less perverse than the first book (as some people would appear to suggest), the whole book series, and any movies series portraying the other two books, are ultimately too abhorrent for media-wise readers and viewers to digest.

Of course, like the perverse ANTICHRIST movie, FIFTY SHADES is extremely anti-Christian, even with the use of the name Christian as the sadomasochist. This movie should have been NC-17. Please protect your children and teenagers from the FIFTY SHADES menace!

Content:

(PaPaPa, RoRo, AbAbAb, LL, VVV, SSS, NNN, AA, DD, MM) Very strong pagan, self-destructive worldview, mixed with some strong Romantic elements as emotional young woman is willing to start experimenting with sadomasochism because she’s fallen “in love” with a perverted young rich man who’s shown her some tenderness but has a troubled past of abuse (she eventually decides to stop seeing him because of his proclivities) with very strong, anti-Christian content; about nine obscenities (including about six “f” words), 13 light profanities, and heroine is drunk, vomits and faints in one scene; very strong violence in one scene where perverted man whips woman’s naked rear end six times with a belt after she asks him to show her the worst “punishment” she will receive from him, plus strong disturbing violence when man spanks woman, hits woman lightly on her hands and naked stomach with a stick that looks like a back scratcher, man ties woman’s hands several times, man ties woman’s hands and feet one time, man lightly strikes woman’s stomach with a whip of some kind, and brief mention of a couple sadomasochistic devices; very strong sexual content includes scenes of depicted fornication, a scene of partially depicted oral sex, scenes of depicted sadomasochism, implied oral sex, scene of implied fornication, passionate nude kissing, mention of a couple sadomasochistic devices, man says his mother was a crack addict and prostitute, man reveals he was seduced into sadomasochism when he was 15 by an adult female friend of his mother’s; sex scenes showing partial, obscured shots of woman pubic hair, a shot of man’s pubic hair, and sex scenes involving upper and rear female and male nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness in one scene; no smoking but man says his biological mother was a crack addict; and, perverted man showers woman with expensive gifts and seems to stalk and intimidate her.

In Brief:

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is a movie version of the infamous novel mixing romance with sadomasochism. Anastasia, a 21-year-old college senior, falls for Christian Grey, a 27-year-old business magnate in Seattle. Ana and Christian are mutually attracted to one another, but Christian warns her he “doesn’t do romance” or “make love.” In fact, he’s more interested in having a “consensual” sadomasochistic relationship, where she will be his “submissive.” However, when Christian learns Ana has never made love sexually with anyone, Christian does exactly that. Even so, he still wants to make her his “submissive.”

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY plays like a melodramatic romance. It’s a very clichéd example of fluffy Hollywood romance, but one that’s rated hard R and should be rated NC-17. Not only is FIFTY SHADES OF GREY corny and clichéd, it also becomes somewhat silly and nonsensical. For instance, Christian says he doesn’t do romance, but his actions later prove that he does, and he can. Although the story shows Ana changing Christian more than he changes her, FIFTY SHADES still displays abhorrent examples of emotional abuse and sexual violence.

Want more content like this? Make a donation to Movieguide®