50 Shades of Grey was exciting, but not nearly as much so as promised by all of the hype. As a self-respecting man, of course, I have never read the decidedly female-aimed novel, nor its sequels, but I decided to give the film version a shot, anyway, and frankly, I was disappointed. The Twilight-based fan fiction aspect of it really shone through, even though the story evolved without sparkling vampires.

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The meeting of the two leads was believable enough, though not much of a meet-cute. The fact that Christian Grey was so taken by (and seemingly in love with) Ana so quickly, though, was hardly convincing. He did not know her at all, so this love could have been no more than lust, thus untrustworthy; she should have known that. His contract should have given her fair warning, especially the non-disclosure aspect of it…and the birth control aspect. If she was not on it already, why would she subject herself to the side effects (weight gain, moodiness, etc.) when she was not even sure if she wanted the relationship to continue?

Though the acting was pretty believable as far as the facial and vocal expression, the story left much to be desired. The romance in the story, though the tension was palpable, seemed to have very little to do with what she wanted, as Grey asked for no input from Ana; he just presumed to know what she might enjoy. Though a very romantic idea, I can attest to it being totally implausible, if not impossible, to please a woman without any input from her, whatsoever. I suppose that is why this movie is so popular among women: Christian Grey does everything right in his attempt to woo Ana, except when it comes to his past, which he keeps closeted in order to protect her. This is a noble, even pretty romantic, notion, but her slightly crazy reaction to the fact Christian may still be in contact with his former dom has more than a suggestion of melodrama.

Even though Ana gains some acceptance of Christian’s “singular tastes,” I got the feeling that, though she accepted them, her comfort-level may have only increased marginally, and she would endure anything to be with him, a one-sided sacrifice. Once again this is a romantic idea, but is it a mutual feeling? It does seem that Christian Grey would spare no expense to have her, but having infinite resources makes this a moot point. In asking her to submit to his lifestyle, he is leaving Ana with few choices. She can accept her awesome job and the love/punishment of Mr. Grey (complete with apartment or room) without having to live the life she has worked hard to achieve, or she can have things handed to her at the expense of her pride and/or self-respect. She does struggle with the decision, not making one until the very last second, after he has walked out, so I guess her self-worth is not really that valuable to her, after all.

50 Shades of Grey left me full of disbelief about the gullibility (or is it under-romanticized nature?) of women; its popularity, both as a novel and film makes me wonder: how many women would choose a life of relative ease, degradation, and pretend romance that they have not achieved, over a true and honest one that they have worked for, and should we consider all of Ana’s personal sacrifices as adding up to true love? I know it is a fictional movie, but the lack of self-respect implied by its popularity as a romance makes me worry about the female population of the country. I found it pretty powerfully arousing, but the credibility was doubtful, making it hard for me to derive much pleasure from it.