Rosie Waterland expected the whole movie to be a bit of a cheesy laugh. Instead she walked out of the cinema on the verge of tears.
I walked into the premiere screening of Fifty Shades of Grey last night planning to walk out with a bunch of ridiculous and funny material that would lead to a hilarious recap. Instead, I walked out of the cinema on the verge of tears.
I’m really, really sorry you guys. I know I made a big deal yesterday about how I was going to write a ‘totes-hilare’ review. I obnoxiously posted pics from the red carpet and tweeted in all caps at the first sighting of pubes.
But I screwed up. I screwed up big time. I went into this film thinking it would be two hours of B-grade hilarity about bondage that I could make fun of. It was actually two hours of incredibly disturbing content about an emotionally abusive relationship that left me really, really shaken.
And now I’m embarrassed that I ever joked about it.
I haven’t read any of the Fifty Shades books, so I went into last night’s screening cold. I think that was the problem. The phenomenon has only ever been on the periphery of my care-factor zone. I honestly thought the story was just about a young, sexually inexperienced woman, who meets a slightly older, extremely sexually experienced man, and he teaches her everything she needs to know in three books of clit-tingling sex-scenes.
It was my understanding that the sex was BDSM-themed, which, with my limited knowledge of that stuff, I assumed included some tying up of hands and slapping on the bum and… I don’t know – blindfolds?
I thought the books were all about kinky, slightly naughty sex. Sex that mixed pleasure with a bit of pain and made housewives around the world read the book with one hand free. And I’m all about women pleasuring themselves, so other than thinking I was glad some sexually-repressed women were getting their rocks off, I didn’t really give it much more thought.
I had heard the rumblings from domestic violence groups wanting people to boycott the film, but with limited understanding of the story, I assumed that was because it involved a woman being physically harmed by a man during sex. And my opinion was, well, if they’re two consenting adults, and being tied up and slapped is their thing, then what’s the big deal?
But I had no idea that Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t just about the sex. It’s also about an incredibly disturbing and manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship.
So, about half an hour into last night’s screening, I found myself doing a horrified double-take. I quite suddenly realised that I was watching a film that glorified domestic abuse.
The relationship between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele is one of the most fucked up and upsetting I’ve ever seen portrayed on the big screen.
And let me be clear to the women who are incredibly defensive of the book that gave them a sexual awakening: When I talk about domestic abuse, I’m not talking about the sex.