50 Shades of Awkward

As I walked into the movie theater, “50 Shades of Grey” ticket in hand, I didn’t know what to expect. I read the “50 Shades” books and was indifferent about the whole series. I was a little disappointed with the casting of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, but I figured I had to see the movie after all the hype surrounding it.

Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, is relatable. She’s an all-American college student with a 4.0 GPA and an ordinary sense of style.

She’s also extremely awkward. The audience seemed to really enjoy the parts where Anastasia was making uncomfortable laughing noises and weird facial expressions. She resembles Jenna, from MTVs “Awkward.” The fringed bangs, the over-exaggerated lip movements and the sarcastic comments of Anastasia were almost identical to those of Jenna.

While “50 Shades” isn’t the movie to see if you’re looking for uproarious laughter, there were some giggle-provoking moments. The first half of the movie was surprisingly humourous. Anastasia interviews Christian and literally trips into his office, and the interview was charmingly awkward.

“50 Shades” was all fun and games, complete with helicopter rides and fancy cars – until Christian showed Anastasia his world. Christian says he is “incapable” of romance, dating and relationships – the exact things Anastasia is looking for. Yet, she sticks around and puts up with his ridiculous requests.

Then, Christian starts getting downright controlling. He freaks out when he finds out Anastasia is traveling to Georgia to visit her mom. He actually shows up in Georgia, comments on Anastasia’s drinking and interrupts her trip to take her on a plane ride. Cool, Christian.

Christian expects Anastasia to sign a contract monitoring everything from her eating habits and oral contraception preferences to her sexual boundaries. This is where he really starts to exhibit his controlling, slightly abusive behaviors. When Anastasia asks Christian what she gets out of all this, he simply replies with “me.”

Sorry Christian, but Anastasia has a clever mind and a fresh college degree. She would be fine without you.

The problem with the movie is that Christian’s abusive tendencies are warped into a complicated love story. “50 Shades” wants women to walk out of the theatre and hope for a man like Christian to come sweep them off their feet, keys to a brand new car in hand. “50 Shades” also shows men that controlling and intimidating a woman while showering her with expensive gifts is the way to her heart.

Christian’s stalking, threats and jealousy is portrayed as romantic. He uses violent force on Anastasia. The movie makes this look normal and acceptable, because after it’s all said and done, she enjoys it. Relationship abuse is defined as behaviors used to maintain power. Christian Grey’s ultimate goal is to maintain his power and control over Anastasia. And, that is not glamorous, healthy, romantic or OK.

The actors in the film argue that it is fiction, after all. Johnson said in an interview with Digital Spy that she actually thinks her character is a powerful woman, rather than a weak submissive victim. And, anything Anastasia does with Christian is done with consent. She never once says “no.”

After reading the books and watching the movie, I still don’t understand why Anastasia sticks around after finding out about his lifestyle. Christian is handsome, rich and truly does care about her. Anastasia is madly in love with Christian and probably a little curious. But, would you want to sign a contract that prohibits you from touching the man you love?

Watching “50 Shades of Grey” left me feeling about 25 shades of disturbed, 25 shades of confused and definitely 50 shades of awkward.


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