All that hype around 50 Shades of Grey being a sensually extreme treat has done well in expanding its audience. Fifty Shades franchise has been one of the most successful and there is no denying that the sensuality of its stories has a major role to play. Other than that, however, there are a few things that caught my notice.
I went in with not much knowledge about what this movie is about. But the initial scene where Dakota Johnson playing Ana gets ready to interview a billionaire gave it away that the billionaire is going to be intrigued by her character and some unconventional romance is to follow. All I could think was ‘please don’t simply make him fall for her without building her character reasonably first’ but that’s just what they did.
The 27 year old billionaire, apparently self made, is instantly intrigued by the shabby looking girl who poses random questions at him that we must believe are somehow deep or meaningful. There is no reason for him to fall for her, at least not in that interview. A self made young, successful businessman like Christian Grey, in the real world, would come with a set of expectations for a girl he would like and Ana, in her first impression, isn’t it. And yet somehow she manages to catch his attention and I think ‘oh good, another nonsensical billionaire sugar daddy theme with a random manic girl that we’re supposed to believe is somehow special’.
But things change as the movie proceeds. I realize that unlike most films of the similar plot, 50 Shades of Grey does not attempt to portray that Ana is a special girl who deserves the billionaire’s attention because she’s so naturally amazing. In fact, Ana is actually just any girl who might instantly get swept off her feet by a man like that. This movie, is in fact an attempt to mirror the hidden psychological desire that women tend to suppress in the process of empowerment; that of wanting to be swept off their senses by a dominating man. Twisted, yes. No wonder it has been so controversial.
If you haven’t watched the movie yet – spoilers ahead.
Christian Grey comes with a baggage of a blasphemous sexual side where he loves to dominate women and call them his ‘submissive’. He even has an elaborate agreement designed as to what shall happen between him and the submissive during the time she decides to ‘play’ with him. Any self respecting woman would take the first exit door and walk out alright; but the irresistible charm the man emanates and the few heartfelt (and expensive) things he does for Ana makes her stay. The fact that she stays, believing that he in fact likes her more than his other ‘submissives’ makes this movie a psychological roller coaster. And here you also realize that when Christian Grey seemed instantly interested in Ana during the interview despite the lack of character development, it wasn’t because he was intrigued by her, it was because he found his next submissive.
By the way, there’s no calling Ana shallow or lame because she chose to stay despite the atrocious agreement – it’s something that a lot of women would end up doing under similar circumstances. They’d put their best foot forward and hold on to hope. That’s the whole point of the movie. It’s ridiculous in fact – I’m still surprised they actually addressed such a topic in a movie (based on the book).
They’ve made Christian Grey a character no woman can simply dismiss. He’s that handsome, brooding man who’d steal your heart in a jiffy. He throws expensive, adrenaline pumping dates. He lets his guard down sometimes and your heart melts a little. Instantly, however, he returns to his abnormal ways that are also sensually appealing and all you’d hope for is that towards the end, his softer side wins over his sadistic side and they live happily ever after. If it happens or not, I’ll leave that for you to see.
But I must say the plot of this movie is nothing like I’ve ever seen. It feels strange at some parts and that’s the point of it. The psychological idea conveyed is so subtle that it is extremely easy to miss. I also believe that the misdirect throughout the movie that covers up the actual theme is intentional and carefully executed. Of course, not to mention that the erotic scenes easily overshadow the actual point of the movie and simply make it a visual treat. It’s a dangerous message to convey; but they’ve ventured into it nonetheless and have done it well.