By Bree Reyes |Staff Writer|
Fifty Shades of Grey earned $100 million in the U.S. and $300 million worldwide after its opening week, according to Forbes, but the opinions of its sexual content, characterization, and plot are scattered.
The film depicts the character of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) encountering Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Grey is a wealthy, successful, man, who starts an intimate relationship which explores the practice of bondage, discipline, submission, domination, and sadomasochism (BDSM), which he introduces Anastasia.
“What I love is that it has brought the fetish BDSM/kink community up close and personal to what we call the ‘vanilla’ general public,” said Mistress Hudsy Hawn, a professional Los Angeles domme and BDSM advocate/educator, in a BuzzFeed YouTube video.
“BDSM is not just about pain. It actually can be very connected and emotional and freeing…It’s very freeing to just let go, let someone else take over. In your personal life. If it’s consensual with you and your partner, anything goes,” continued Hawn.
While Hawn sees the movie as an informative representation of the BDSM culture, others think that the film misrepresented BDSM, and gave it a negative image.
“I don’t think it depicted BDSM well, mainly because it made me question why people enjoy pain like that,” said Jaonathan Abad, a CSUSB third year. “It looked like she was more in pain than enjoying it, making it seem like she only did it because that’s what he wanted. There’s a limit to that kind of thing, and I think he took it too far. He was so controlling.”
The debate over the BDSM content of the film has gone as far as arguments that BDSM is a catalyst for domestic violence.
“I can understand why people would view it as abusive, but it was consensual,” said Carly Willard, a first-year graduate student at CSUSB. “I don’t feel like he had power over her. She had the full control and could have opted out at any time. What they shared was something that was very intimate, and if BDSM is an intimate preference, then so be it. It is what it is.”
Putting judgments about BDSM aside, the mise en scene of Fifty Shades of Grey is packed with beautiful aerial views of Seattle,Washington, contrasting colors of black and white spaces and cinematography that flows well from scene-to-scene.
The scenes that contained conversation had crisp, clear light and scenes where no words were spoken were filled with shadows and calm, ambient lighting.
“The virginity scene is something that is so beautiful,” said actress Dakota Johnson in an interview with Access Hollywood. “And the way that [cinematographer] Seamus [McGarvey] and [director] Sam [Taylor-Johnson] shot that scene, it’s really incredible. And the colors! It’s so saturated, and then just watching a really profound moment in a young girl’s life, I think that was pretty special to do.”
The vibrant hues of red were sparingly used in the film, and were limited to certain objects and settings, such as the color of Anastasia’s new car from Christian, and Christian’s locked bondage room.
The script was both comedic and emotional, and the actors voiced their lines smoothly and powerfully, making certain lines stand out, especially during dramatic moments of dialogue.
Monique Huerta, a first-year graduate student, said “I read the books, and I thought it was good, but I felt like those who didn’t read the books definitely got ripped off. There are so many dynamics to the story that the movie left out.”
With key story details left out, the characterization of not only Anastasia and Christian suffered, but their supporting roles, which the book flourished in, lacked depth.
“However, I do think the movie did a good job portraying the ending,” said Huerta. “Since the book is read through Anastasia’s perspective, there are parts where Christian’s emotions are not explicitly described, so the film made the ending more emotional and illustrated his feelings well from his point of view.”“I almost felt like he didn’t like it, which is something that wasn’t described in the book. It hurt him to hurt her, and that showed the opening of a new relationship,” continued Huerta.
According to CSUSB students, the majority of the film was average, except for the ending.
“I liked it from beginning to middle, but the ending was disappointing,” said student Helen Cash. “It left their issues up in the air, so now I’m left with so many questions about their relationship.”
The second installment of the Fifty Shades Trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker, has not been announced as set for production, but with grossing success at the box office and average reviews from the public
the future looks bright for Fifty Shades of Grey Darker.