The Velvet Café

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Archive for the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Category

A reluctant post about that BDSM movie

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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