When a friend asked that question today, I didn’t know quite what to say. Not because I don’t have some thoughts about the crazy popular film, but because I didn’t know quite where to start. I was pretty sure if I started talking it would come out something like a frenetic Robin Williams rant.
Rather than ramble on in sporadic rabbit trails he would certainly misunderstand, I boomeranged his question back to him. I wanted to know where he was coming from. And I figured it would give me time to think.
Then he shared some of his opinions about how he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about, and really, can’t we just all grow up about it, and people can do what they want and that sort of thing.
That’s when I decided I would try to answer his question in a blog. So here are some of those sporadic rabbit trails slightly mapped out.
The wildly popular book-turned-movie opens this weekend, shrewdly synched with Valentine’s Day. One thing I hate is when people pontificate about books and movies they haven’t actually bothered to read or watch themselves. Well, I haven’t read the book or watched this film. So if you want to stop listening, that’s fine.
But this is different and you know it. I mean, I live under a rock and still I know a whole lot about the premise, people, and plot of Shades. I imagine you do, too, even if you haven’t read or seen it.
The buzz is strangely mixed. A lot of people are really upset and have a strong dislike for this film.
- People who care about good literature, strong stories and skillful filmmaking are panning it because it’s poorly written and banal.
- People who respect women hate it because the main female character has a spine like a jellyfish and no real self-respect, allowing herself to have the blank slate of her personality written on by a guy who has anything but her best interests in mind.
- People who respect men are disgusted by the sad portrait painted of the shallow, self-seeking, violent American male.
- People who care about domestic abuse hate it because Christian Grey is a filthy rich studmuffin CEO type with nice suits which apparently justifies the fact that he stalks, threatens, abuses and controls Ana under the guise of “true love.”
- People who care about decency and decaying moral boundaries disapprove because it aggrandizes violent, kinky porn, placing it in the center of culture’s “church” – the local movie theater, where teeny boppers, moms, & everyone else congregates to worship.
- People who are struggling to be free of sexual addiction hate it because it doesn’t tell the truth about the more satisfying joy of freedom without addiction. After finally finding the beauty of light they are concerned the film won’t simply expose people to shades of gray but draw them into a darkness that holds no life, love, or light.
- And people who follow Jesus are mad, but mostly sad on so many levels. The lemming like acceptance of the messages in the film promote damaging lies we cling to as we look for love in all the wrong places.
Are you one of the people described above? I am.
This film is about bondage. And I don’t mean the kind you find in sex dungeons. The relationship between Christian and Ana promotes a set of lies that hold people captive, locked away from the healthy food we’re desperately hungry for which is mature love. Acceptance. Wholesome intimacy. Instead Fifty Shades serves up more of the same crappy prison gruel our culture has developed an appetite for. Fifty Shades comes along and says, “Super-size me!”
What we’re really hungry for is a Truth that can set us free.
In my next post I’ll head down a different rabbit trail to talk about whether you should see the movie or not.