So, tonight, or last night, or some other doomed night in recent-past or near-future memory, saw the release of the phenomally-global cultural black-hole that is Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, I have neither seen the film nor read the books but I have read books and seen films. I feel this leaves as well-informed, on balance, as uber-fans of the series. They may have knowledge of who or what Anastasia is, and what colour underwear she has, but I have experienced good things. To this end, here is a review.
In the books/film, you have Christian Grey, a wealthy person who does a nondescript job. I am reliably informed that his job never really comes into it. Why should it? When you are trying to write a three-dimensional character, I guess you can leave out minor details like his profession! I am also reliably informed that he has some past issues that lead him to wanting the kind of relationship he has.
You then have Anastasia, the woman one. She is a student. She falls in love with Mr Grey. She might be a student of micro-biology. She might be studying media. I don’t know. I could have a guess which one of those would be closest though.
I think that just about sums up the plot. There’s a lot of ‘erotica’ involved in the books. BDSM and the like. However, I am reliably informed that the relationship the two share is more akin to domestic abuse dressed up as S&M, showing a clear lack of understanding behind what an S&M relationship is all about. Apparently things border the line of Grey actually being a rapist.
This is a carelessly dangerous thing to do. If you are going to write this kind of relationship, even as fantasy, it has to be researched to within an inch, otherwise you are sending out the wrong message. That wrong message in this case is that every woman should want a Mr Grey: someone who treats them like an animal and shows no respect whatsoever.
I have never been in an S&M relationship before but from what people who have have told me, it is completely about trust. About giving yourself wholly to another person, your heart, mind, physical well-being as well as physical safety, in the knowledge that they will treat it with the utmost respect and always adhere to boundaries. I can see how it would be a beautiful thing. Plus, it is not always the case that it is the man who is the dominant one. This is something that EL James has clearly not researched properly. This also make me think that if Anastasia’s course was ever revealed, it would be something closer to Media Studies, as anything else would require too much research.
Dressing up this kind of abusive relationship is wrong on the highest level, especially in something this wildly-popular. There is going to be a whole lot of talk about this in the media over the coming days so we will leave this to one side for now.
Let’s instead focus on EL James’ ‘talent as a writer’.
James wrote Fifty Shades because she wanted to have a wank over Twilight. She wrote – and here I am using the verb ‘to write’ in its loosest sense – the story, put it on a site somewhere so other droogs could wank to it too. The droogs liked it, shared it with other droogs and now you can find it in charity shops up and down the country. Out of curiosity, I opened up a charity-shop copy once and read a random sample. I found myself more intrigued by the horrifically racist china dolls on the shelf next to the book section than the writing itself. It was an email exchange between Anastasia and Grey. I have no idea what they were talking about. I don’t really care. The writing was…just bad. Bad James. Bad.
So it really says something about the film that the production crew and writer would not let her near the film. It really says something that, when a book of this ‘magnitude’ is adapted into a talkie, they normally have the cream of the crop, the top dogs all vying to play the lead or write and/or direct it. I have literally never heard of any of the people involved with the film. Not one. Apart from Rita Ora. That’s it.
Sadly, I think this film is going to do quite well in the box-office. Probably well enough to spawn a sequel. It just goes to show that people should not be allowed to decide what they like. That awful message about abuse is going to become systemically planted into the minds of young men and women and is going to be responsible for a lot of terrifying relationships. A friend said to me that ‘anyone with half a brain will see it’s a fiction. That things aren’t like that.’ Most people do not have half a brain and those that do do not engage it. If you want to see this film done well, just watch Secretary.
I will eventually see this film. Probably when it comes out on DVD. I will see it being bought by idiots and run up to them in HMV and slap it out of their hands into the pile of manure I will be carrying around with me upon its release.
Keri has just told me that Anastasia is studying journalism (she thinks) and that I cannot harp on about lack of research when I have not done any myself. Well, I think this film and these books deserve a badly-written, misinformed and lazy review. That is all the courtesy EL James has paid the world by releasing this trash.
And now, the weather.
Not really. I just love Welcome to Night Vale.
Here is a poem. The prompt comes from Magick_Words and is ‘tattoo’.
The girl has
a seriously cut-shapr suit,
sensible shoes, scraped back hair
and a butterfly tattoo on her
Here is a(nother) poem. The prompt is ‘lost in the shadows’ from DarkSideOfPoetry.