Hugely unpopular opinion…?
I’ve just had a fight with Lisa Wilkinson. Well, not a fight. More of a disagreement.
This is highly unusual. We disagree so very rarely. I worship the woman. She’s one of my closest friends. In fact, during the 20+ years I’ve known and loved Lisa, I can’t think of a single topic on which we haven’t shared a similar opinion.
Until we both saw the 50 Shades of Grey movie this week.
Yesterday morning I read Lisa’s’ review of the film here and in the afternoon I saw the movie myself. And as I sat there mainlining popcorn and Maltesers, I kept waiting to agree with her view that it was an appalling movie that depicted domestic violence.
For me, that moment never came. I was not shocked or offended or upset or disturbed by this film. Even mildly.
I do, however, agree with this sentiment from Lisa:
“With a script that makes Mills & Boon read like bleedin’ Dickens, and lines like, “I don’t do romance”, Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey is the 30-something jerk of a billionaire who never seems to work. An emotionally crippled narcissist no one could love.”
Well, yes. The script is woeful. The whole movie is pretty woeful actually.
Not as high-camp cult-classic awful as, say, Showgirls. But totally cheesy and lame.
Yep. All of that is true. No Oscar buzz here.
But the bit I didn’t agree with was the part where Lisa said: “It’s domestic violence dressed up as erotica… and if there’s one thing this movie is not, it’s erotic.”
I actually think it is erotic in parts. But we’ll get to the sex in a moment because I’m feeling like I might be the only one. You see, Lisa’s view of 50 Shades is shared by another woman I usually agree with, Mamamia’s senior editor Rosie Waterland.
We sent Rosie off to the premiere on Thursday night with a brief to write one of her famous recaps. That never happened. Because when she came to work the following morning and I asked about it, she was still shaking. That’s how distressing and triggering she had found it. That’s how upset she was by what she saw. Angry too. Because, as she wrote in a review that has gone as viral as Lisa’s (and which you can read in full here), Rosie was horrified by the message she felt the film sent:
It’s emotional abuse disguised as a ‘naughty sex contract’. It’s domestic violence dressed up as sexy fantasy. …..there is no doubt in my mind that the film I watched last night was a disturbing and clear depiction of a controlling and emotionally abusive relationship. This was domestic violence. I don’t care how many women learned to embrace sex because of Fifty Shades of Grey. THIS WAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.
And lots and lots of women agree with Rosie. That post has been read and shared thousands of times. There are protests about the film being organised by women’s groups and calls for boycotts.
So. Back to my phonecall with Lisa this morning. After seeing the film myself yesterday and being surprised to find myself on such a different page to my friend, I wanted to ask her one question: did you read the books?
She hadn’t. And neither had Rosie. And that’s when I understood.