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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Film Review: 50 Shades of Grey

“I just wrote it as a, its sort of my mid-life crisis, sort of all my fantasies in one.”
What author E.L. James said to ABC news is key in trying to understand the film adaptation of her controversial work, 50 Shades of Grey. Despite slander, praise and even confusion in regards to her sexy novel hitting the big screen, James said, “you cannot own someone’s response, and they are perfectly entitled to their opinion.” Great, here’s some perspective from someone who didn’t read the books, but watched the movie.
We have virginal English Major Anastacia Steele who finds herself smitten with young billionaire Christian Grey after an interview that turns from somewhat professional to intensely personal.  The brief time frame in which their flame develops is somewhat unrealistic, hinging onto a single encounter that escalated into soul-robbing eye contact and lustful tension.  Of course the man can’t be perfect, and he’s not–unless you’re into BDSM.  Nothing wrong with that, but Ana demonstrates she falls on the opposite end of the spectrum; reluctant to sign Christian’s written contract detailing consent to anything from anal fisting and suspension–and does she ever sign?  No, she’s too busy trying it.
Show us some ice cubes sliding over Ana’s body, ankles bound by rope in the “Red Room of Pain”, a peep of Christian’s junk and we get an idea of what she’s agreed to. What’s more, that about sets the pornographic standard of the movie–nothing you wouldn’t see on HBO. However, the perhaps the most peculiar thing as a viewer is that we are watching this in the company of strangers; unsure if the middle-aged couple next to you is giggling out of shock, or because they realized they have the same collection of leather floggers.
There’s something unbelievable about a girl casually losing her virginity over the course of a handful of conversations, then proceeding to get it on immediately after as the film shows.  Or getting it on at all after being told “If you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to walk for a week.” A tad corny but one could argue this is part of developing Christian’s character. Ana, like anyone, is entitled to her taste.
Jokes aside, we see Ana slip into to the life of handcuffs, whips and masking tape.  Maybe being surprised with an Audi and helicopter rides has something to do with surrendering her wrists to a silk tie, but whether we identify this as bribery or a mutual exchange, E.L. James has elaborated.
“I’d read a couple of things about BDSM and I was thinking what if you met someone and you didn’t want to do this, what would happen then?” She told ABC News, “I’d go and say, ‘could we try this,’ and my husband would look and me and roll his eyes and say ‘mmmm ok’.” James admits she is an unashamed slave to the desire of a man on top, and what about Ana?
If Ms. Steele didn’t desire to be tied down by the relationship, perhaps she could have ran for the hills when Christian told her, “you should steer clear of me, I’m not the man for you,” or should not have insisted he “just open the door” to his “playroom” after he hesitates and welcomes her to leave any time. Considering that Ana isn’t put off by his claim, “I don’t make love, I fuck, hard,” nor does she use the safe word “red” or “yellow” to terminate the rough lashing in the final scene, we can say the girl has agreed to it. So what makes the film different than a regular S and M porno?
If blindfolds and whipping don’t dominate your interest, somewhere in between the scene of the couple flying through the clouds to Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” and witnessing an intimate dance to Frank Sinatra in Christian’s piano room, you’ll fall in love. There is a touch of suspense and a glimmer of passion when he shows up unexpectedly. These slips into chivalry, accidental or not, leave us hopeful that just as Ana yields to Christian’s sexual desires, he will submit to her want for romance.
Perhaps only those that enjoy BDSM will understand how the relationship between Christian and Ana, like any other, searches for equilibrium in a constant seesaw between romance and sexuality.
“Well it’s a love story,” James told ABC, “and people who fall in love have a lot of sex.”

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Film Review: 50 Shades of Grey