It would be fair to say that the film-adaptation of the book 50 Shades of Grey generated quite a buzz. In the opening weekend, 50 Shades of Grey raked in a whooping $81.7 million in its first three days. Every man and his dog has an opinion on the explicit content offered in both the movie and the book, but it seems the movie has got a lot of people really worked up including the Today show’s Lisa Wilkinson.
Wilkinson’s review of the film was not friendly to say the least. She gave it one measly star, and attributed that star to the “excellent choc top” she consoled herself with. Her main qualm with the film? She claimed that the film portrayed “domestic violence dressed up as erotica”.
Mamamia’s Mia Freedman wrote a very different review of the film, and discussed why her review was so different from Wilkinson’s. The key differentiating factor? Freedman had read the book, Wilkinson hadn’t.
Having read the book myself, I completely understand why non-book readers might be inclined to strongly resist the film. The books weren’t great, let’s get that clear, but they provide a lot more depth into the character Christian Grey and why he acts the way he does. Without providing any spoilers, Grey has a complicated past and the books as a complete series of three, explore these issues.
I also happen to agree with Freedman when she says that E.L. James has no social responsibility to depict a healthy, functioning relationship. The books and the film are entirely fictitious and I think the important thing here to note is not the need to censor such content, but to allow it to dictate open and honest conversations about the relationships we find ourselves in. The books and the film both provide a fantastic opener into the importance of understanding ourselves and developing healthy relationships.
Being a big fan of Lisa Wilkinson, I’m a little bit shocked by her strong comments about the film. Whilst the Anastasia character lacks a lot of depth and I really struggled to not roll my eyes when reading the book, she also actively participates in every sexual activity in the book. Domestic violence is not consensual. Simply because you would not participate in a physical act does not make it inherently wrong. I am definitely an advocate of identifying violence in relationships in all forms, but I am not comfortable with the phrase domestic violence being thrown about a little too casually.
Let us know your opinions on 50 Shades of Grey and tell us if you agree with Lisa.