The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

A reluctant post about that BDSM movie

with 7 comments


Fifty Shades of Grey. That would be a good description of my hair these days. I try to trick myself into accepting it, calling it “natural highlights”. But to be honest it makes me look way older than my age.

If it hadn’t already had this color, I swear the movie with the same title would have changed it that way. It has that effect on you. It makes you feel old and tired.

The movie with the same title had about the same effect on me. It made me feel old and tired.

I ask myself why I’m writing about it in the first place. It’s a rubbish, rubbish movie. I’ve got a whole queue of great movies I’ve seen that I want to share my love for. So why not just leave this one to a well deserved oblivion? To tell you the truth, I’ve made an agreement with my Swedish blogging friends to make a post about it since we watched it together. And I try to stick to my promises.

Besides, as we talked about it afterwards, it turned out that we disagreed about it pretty vehemently. And the fact that we discussed, I guess is an argument for writing about it. There are a few things to be said after all. I’ll keep it brief and make it a list of five issues I had with it:

  1. The idea to launch it a Valentine’s Day seems bizarre. It’s not a romantic movie. At all. It’s a movie about a relationship that starts on a not-overly-hot level and then quickly descends into misery. Not melancholic, bittersweet, love illness suffering misery. We just watch two people trying being together despite the fact that they’re not compatible sexually. Who wants to watch that on February 14? (Apparently many, since the theatre was sold out.)
  2. The writing just isn’t any good. I haven’t read the source material, but I can imagine that it’s silly, but also a little charming and forgivable when you read it as a piece of fanfiction. However, turned into a movie it made me roll my eyes and I wasn’t the only one. There was a lot of laughing during the movie, and all for the completely wrong reasons.
  3. It’s ridiculously old fashioned in terms of gender politics. The rich man, the virgin girl, the constant objectification of the female body. It’s not even trying to pretend to be something else. This is not a feminist movie, even if the writer and director happen to be women. (A female crew is definitely not a guarantee for a female perspective).
  4. I suppose I’m expected to swoon over Mr Grey. That’s the very idea of this series, isn’t it? Well, I’m not. He’s as hot as a dressing doll after spending a week in a freezer.
  5. My final – and biggest – issue with this film is the stance it takes on BDSM- I’m not into that kind of sex myself, but from all I’ve heard about it, it appears to me that it has a prejudiced view on it. It suggests that only people who are damaged through traumas in their childhood can be into it, and even hits that you can be taken out of those terrible desires if you discover “true” love. I’ve understood that mutual agreements, a good communication and “safe words” are essential in BDSM. Those concepts are introduced in the film, but soon forgotten. In the end, the one with the kinks turns out to be a monster. The audience is supposed to sympathise with the one who prefers vanilla sex. I guess they wanted to stick within the accepted boundaries, not upsetting anyone.

If you want to see a movie about a less-than-ordinary romantic relationship, I urge you to watch Secretary. I’m probably not the first one to point it out, but I’ll do it anyway, since it deserves it. It’s funny (not involuntarily so), it’s thought provoking and – above all – it’s romantic and endearing. A way, way, way better choice if you want a kinky edge to your Valentine movie.

Fifty Shades of Grey (Sam Taylor Johnson, US 2015) My rating: 1,5/5




The views on this movie among the bloggers in the network Filmspanarna varied quite a bit. Here’s what the others made of it:

The Nerd Bird
Den perfekta filmen (podcast)
Fripps filmrevyer
Rörliga bilder och tryckta ord
Fiffis filmtajm

Written by Jessica

February 18, 2015 at 6:00 am

7 Responses

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  1. This is by far the best review I’ve seen so far of this movie. Many thanks!


    February 18, 2015 at 6:19 am

  2. Hey Jessica! It’s been a while. Good to see you keeping your hand in the blogging world.

    I expected no less from you on this one. I haven’t seen it and I have no real desire to. It looks and sounds ridiculous!

    Mark Walker

    February 18, 2015 at 9:29 am

  3. Just love your intro 😀

    About the bullets:
    1. Agree with you there, at least it’s not a movie I would like to watch with a partner in order to get into a romantic mood. I could however argue that it at least is supposed to be a movie about love, if not romance
    2. I hade the feeling that most of the laughing was for the exactly right reasons, i.e. overly elaborated and sarcastic dialogue
    3. No argument from me there
    4. Definitely no argument from me there! 😀
    5. The thing is: I’m not sure that the point is to make BDSM out to be something only a traumatised person would like. I think that the writer’s aim was to create an antagonist that would spark the caregiving genes in women and at the same time be a bit dangerous. The BDSM part could just as well have been alcoholism, some sort of OCD behaviour or something in that line.


    February 18, 2015 at 4:44 pm

  4. As you already know, I don´t agree with you regarding this movie. I think it´s a great film, romantic in every way, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are just perfect, they have a sparkling chemistry between them. About the BDSM-part of it all, and especially the ending, I can´t see that you´re supposed to think he´s a monster…

    Ah well, we could discuss this movie forever, but can we just agree to disagree on this one? 🙂


    February 18, 2015 at 11:33 pm

  5. Not a movie I am ever planning to see, so my hat off to you sacrificing yourself to see it and telling us how bad it is 😉


    February 19, 2015 at 11:48 am

  6. The very premise of this film is repugnant to me. I haven’t read the book (but the copious online “reviews” and op-ed’s about it leave me unsurprised) and I will not be seeing the film purely on principle.

    The Hot Rod

    February 23, 2015 at 12:12 am

  7. Well said. ‘Descends into misery describes the movie perfectly, as well as my experience of watching it. Great blog by the way, I just found you through!

    Writer Loves Movies

    February 28, 2015 at 11:55 am

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