Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fifty Shades of... thoughts.

I was going to leave this alone, but I once told a group of people at an Author's Panel to never let something go that you can't get out of your mind.
This blog post will be a testament to that.
So then.
Fifty Shades of Grey.
When it first came out, I had little to no interest.  I had opened the first book at random and read a couple of pages.  It was...meh.  Then the movie came out, and I thought (being a visual person) that I might enjoy the story better that way.
I was wrong.
I'm not here to bash E.L. James.  Not going to happen.  Not in the way she's been bashed before, anyway.  The mere content of these books is a trigger.  BDSM, for many, is a trigger because it's not a consensual act but a horrible power play between someone being the aggressive and someone being the submissive.  But it's not.  While I don't practice the lifestyle, I can see where it might appeal to some.
Christian Grey was indoctrinated into the lifestyle by an older woman.  He thought that she gave him the perfect outlet for those parts of him that he deemed not normal.  The abuses he suffered as an extremely young boy manifested themselves out into this chosen lifestyle.  And while he refers to himself as "fucked up", it's quite clear that he considers being a submissive, and then a Dominant, integral to who he is.
And he believes that only through this lifestyle will he be able to connect physically with someone.  I find the psychology behind that fascinating.
My problem with the story stems from it being contrived.
Good authors try to make a seamless story that readers can follow through with no hitches or bumps in the narrative.  Great authors succeed.
While I didn't read the book, it's been said that the movie closely follows it.  And if that's true, then I shudder at some scenes.
When Anastasia Steele (and God help me, that name is contrived all by itself) drinks too much and drunk dials Christian, he shows up JUST IN TIME to save her from a friend who is becoming too handsy.  My eye literally twitched.
When he happens to show up when she's with her mother, it was all I could do not to stop the movie right then and there.  I mean...c'mon!
And then this older woman is thrown into the mix right in time for there to be conflict.  Seriously.  I hadn't heard her name before, and suddenly she's all over the place.  Ugh.
Stories, no matter the content, should neither be choppy nor contrived.  They should flow smoothly.
Our protagonist, Ms. Steele, walks the fine line between Too Stupid To Live and simply naive.  I struggled with her character in the movie because she made me literally wince.  Falling into his office.  Losing her place in her notes.  So I took a breath and tried to imagine myself in that position.
Early twenties.  Innocent.  Sheltered.  Settled.  Perhaps a billionaire would upset my little world, also.  Doesn't make her more appealing to me, but I find myself trying to understand her actions.
To sum up, it's a "C" movie.  It's not great.  It's not even particularly daring.
Average storyline.  Below average writing.  Above average casting.
Because hello, Mr. Dornan.  I've missed you since they killed your ass off "Once Upon a Time".
There will be two more movies to round out the trilogy.  It'll probably be one and a half too many.

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