I had read The Hunger Games. I loved the book, and I hated it. I loved the story, but the writing was painful. I saw the movie, and loved it. They took a great story and made it better and fixed all the bad writing. Plus, Jennifer Lawrence.
In my fantasy, the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey was going to be like this: a sexy, smart improvement on something that was unreadable (by me, at least). I hadn’t focused on Jamie Dornan. I’m close to a Kinsey 0. Dakota Hudson was where my pre-viewing attention had turned, and it had done so happily. I thought there was a sexy, cute, innocent, eager, seductive hotness to her, and I thought a movie about her introduction to submission (a la 9 1/2 Weeks or Secretary) couldn’t help but be hot, particularly given the level of funds committed to the project.
T and I saw it together, perhaps hoping it might inspire some bedroom antics, turn us both on, give us something fun/sexy to debrief (ahem) one another about. It wasn’t a minute into the movie before we both were groaning audibly. Not moaning. Groaning.
I was literally* banging my head against my chair five minutes in. We didn’t walk out. The only three movies I can remember wanting to walking out on are Mr. Dead and Mrs. Free**, Titanic, and The Blair Witch Project. Each of which made me want to vomit differently. The latter two, T and I left together. Actually – we didn’t walk out of Titanic. We only did so psychically. We were with T’s parents, who loved it, as I recall. So T and I sat and rolled our eyes together throughout. As we did at FSOG.
We had slightly different reactions, and I won’t address T’s. And, I’ll try to stay away, for the most part, from the philosophical objections that have been raised everywhere (kink as evidence of psychic wounding, for example). These are the things that sent me over the edge, in no particular order:
1) Ugh. Jamie Dornan isn’t only not credible, he’s not hot. His hair’s goofy. He radiates anxiety, not confidence, not sexiness.
2) Best I can tell, the Anastasia character never sucked the Christian character’s dick. Not once. Seriously?
3) His dismissive attitude toward BDSM is palpable. He almost looks disgusted with himself as he’s interacting with Ana.
4) The movie stole shamelessly from 9 1/2 Weeks. The ice cube scene in 9 1/2 Weeks is so much hotter. The man’s monochrome closet. Dang!
There were a couple of other things that drove me over the edge, somewhat differently…. I didn’t like the way I heard things I’ve said and seen things I’ve done dozens of times. I WAS FIRST, DAMN IT! The way he talks about the “rewards” available to Ana, the way he pins her arms above her head, the way he tells her not to touch him without permission. I know that there are only so many moving parts, and it’s not really surprising. But still. I like to think of those various things as being specific, not generic. And, I suppose, they are: when I do them, they’re specific not only to me, but to the woman with whom I’m doing them. I know intuitively, that when I pin Isabel’s hands over her head, it’s entirely different than when I pin the Rockette’s hands over head (even if they’re lying next to each other when I do it).
The main thing I kept thinking during the film was, “I wish I had a notebook so I could keep notes on all the absurd/awful/cringe-worthy moments.” In the end, I’ve put it out of my mind.
Here’s hoping there’s a good depiction of dominance of submission soon (and, along the way, I’d love to see a good depiction of D/s with the woman in the dominant role as well).
* Do you know why kleptomaniacs can’t understand puns? Because they always take things literally.
** Apparently, Mr. Dead and Mrs. Free wasn’t a movie, notwithstanding my teen memory, but, rather, a multimedia project. Alls I remember is a pregnant woman in a shower being shot.
Just for good measure, here are the trailers for 9 1/2 Weeks and Secretary.