By Jac Frost
For me, Valentine’s Day has always been the day of watching as many romantic films as I can binge on while eating heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and crying over Leonardo DiCaprio dying in yet another film. And while I am incredibly excited for all of the films coming out this fourteenth of February, I can’t say that any of them are films with endings I truly look forward to seeing on the big screen.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” will definitely have some major moments where women in the theater will gasp and absolutely adore Jamie Dornan’s intense…physicality. Granted there is definitely some form of slightly messed-up relationship in there somewhere, but the main point of the film is not the emotional relationship between Christian and Anastasia, but rather the physical one.
“Fifty Shades” is the trashy romance novel that women usually keep hidden under their pillow like Rachel Green always did in “Friends”. Yet this book-turned-movie has somehow made women feel empowered to read their pornography in public. Once a “Twilight” FanFiction written for horny teenagers and lonely, forty-year-old-Robert-Pattinson-Adoring-Moms, the book got self-published and went viral. This was no ordinary Harlequin romance novel, that much can be seen through the absolute uproar from female audiences around the world.
But were they powered by Anastasia’s personal relationship with the man who had her phone tracked so that he could find her wherever she is? More likely they were absolutely astonished by her vibrant sexual awakening into the land of kink. This is not the kind of spanking Ben Stiller attempted with Jennifer Aniston in “Along Came Polly”, but rather a more intense physical overtaking of Dominant and Submissive.
Is this something interesting that will likely blow up the box office in a heartbeat?
Certainly! No amount of Tumblr-protesting could even possibly stop this movie from making a minimum of 40 million dollars opening weekend alone.
But is this movie for Valentine’s Day weekend?
This is not a film that should be idolized for its perfect relationship involving perfect people who float off into the perfect sunset. This is a movie about messed up people in a messed up relationship trying to figure out their messed up lives.
Maybe it is that Valentine’s Day has lost its charm of perfection. Perhaps the idea of perfection has finally lost all appeal and people are finally seeing things in the world for what they are.
But if that were true, there would be a movie about a gay couple out there in theaters that isn’t crucified.
More likely, people are actually idolizing this relationship in a similar way to how Meg Ryan’s and Tom Hanks’s relationship was idolized in any of their fabulous Nora Ephron films. Those characters were not perfect, neither was their relationship. But they made it look perfect because of the love they felt for one another. I am not so sure the “Fifty Shades” couple should have the same absolute idolization. Not because of the type of sex they enjoy, but because Christian Grey definitely didn’t allow Ana any type of freedom (the tracking of the phone alone is stalking that no woman would find even remotely “cute” in real life). Go ahead and enjoy any form of kinky sex you see fit, there will be no judgment from me. But do it safely. Do not trust the rich billionaire just because he has money. Understand that there is absolutely no excuse for that level of stalking.
Valentine’s Day may just be a Hallmark card occasion to the highest degree. A day to pout, laze around, binge and complain, but it is also a day for romance. St. Valentine was a real man and he married many people at a time when marriage was illegal in Rome. Do not corrupt the memory of this great man by forgetting the true idea of love on the most important day for it.
I am not going to lie and say that I am not seeing “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I am. And I am going to enjoy every minute of it. Even the soundtrack sounds great. But remember that this is not a love story as much as it is a piece of pornography that can be shown in public.
This simply does not seem to be the type of film a couple may happily see together. Of course, neither are most rom-coms, but this one could make a special case against the idea of Valentine’s Day, altogether.