The heavily anticipated film adaptation of the 2011 erotic romance novel by E.L. James made its debut in theaters Feb. 13 ─just in time for Valentine’s Day. Despite grossing $94.4 million in its opening weekend, negative reviews have done nothing but dominate on social media and other media outlets. While the positive reviews remained present as well, the rivaling opinions became a popular topic of conversation and have no signs of stopping any time soon.
Originally published as a fan fiction to the Twilight series, 50 Shades of Grey is an erotic romance novel about a quiet young college student, Anastasia Steele (newcomer Dakota Johnson), that ends up in an accidental romantic relationship with a 27-year-old billionaire, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). The two seem to be the perfect match; however, Grey does not wish to continue the relationship because of his, “singular tastes”. Grey is a Dominant that chooses to engage in bondage, domination, sadism and masochistic, or BDSM relationships with women that are called “Submissives”. This confession about the man that she has fallen in love with becomes too much for Steele, so she has to decide between submitting to his lifestyle and have all of the aspects of being in a relationship with him, or to let him go. This film is the first installment of a trilogy that has yet to release the dates for the other two films.
After the film’s release, the social media reaction to the film had the Internet all tied up. Several articles that have been published had reoccurring themes; most of which covered strong viewpoints in support of Christian values, the romanticizing of rape culture, the misrepresentation of the practice of BDSM, as well as psychological articles that explained the mindsets of the individuals that partake in the BDSM lifestyle.
“The film and the novels have no concept of consent when it comes to a BDSM relationship,” said a longtime Submissive who wishes to remain unnamed. “There has to be a mutual respect between the Dom and the Submissive in order for the lifestyle to work. I am not pressured to do anything that I do not want to do,” the Sub said. “There can also be romance as well as dominance if the two are equally committed to the relationship.”
Those that read the novels were not surprised at the scenes and content in the film. This film is one of the only films that have outwardly portrayed a BDSM type of relationship, and moviegoers should not expect to get a crash course in the lifestyle.
The 50 Shades of Grey film and the novel are almost parallel to one another. If you have read the novels prior to seeing the film, which is recommended, than viewers will have a better understanding of the content of the film, since there are several parts in the novel that are considered taboo. In order to appreciate this particular form of entertainment, it is important to keep an open mind. Even if whips and chains may not be your cup of Earl Grey tea, it should not be a cause to judge another based on your conflicting opinion.