Many years ago, when I was an eager young kinkster, I read the Fifty Shades trilogy. The first left me disappointed, the second despondent, and the third in despair. Was this really how people saw kinksters? Broken humans, with nothing to offer in the way of affection? A little exploration into the world of kink, and I soon realised it wasn’t. Kinksters are, for the most part, lovely people. Of course, just like any community in life, you get a few characters that are less than savory. But, through exploring the community I found amazing open-minded people, who knew how to practice kink safely, sanely, and consensually. Something Fifty Shades does not.
The Fifty Shades Phenomenon
As we all know, the books became movies that went on to gross ridiculous amounts of money and even inspired new lines of sex toys. Now, I have a love/hate relationship with Fifty Shades. I hate, and I mean really truly hate how kink is portrayed, and how the fact Christian was abused as a child ‘led’ to him becoming ’50 shades of fucked up’. But, I do like how it’s brought kink into the mainstream. Even I can’t argue with the benefit of a little more open conversation. It’s made more people aware of BDSM, and fetishes, it’s sparked debates, it’s inspired people to try something new, and for a period of time, it encouraged people to talk about sex. But, this isn’t about what Fifty Shades has done for kink, this is about the movie – so buckle up, and grab a drink.
Fifty Shades Darker .. of Wrong
My main gripe with the movie? Fifty Shades Darker really took the biscuit with Christian’s behaviour. Don’t get me wrong, it’s terrible in the books, but there’s something about seeing it on the big screen that makes it seem even worse. A few examples:
- The film opens with flashbacks of childhood abuse.
Once again, reinforcing the notion that to be interested in BDSM you must have suffered some form of abuse.
- He keeps a dossier on potential submissives.
Let me repeat that. He keeps a dossier on potential submissives.
- He brought every single picture of her in a gallery exhibition because he didn’t want people looking at her.
Now, the fact that there’s a gallery of pictures of Anastasia that were taken without her permission by her friend, who definitely wants to be more than a friend, is creepy enough. But, that Christian brought every single once because he wanted to get into contact with her wins the creepy competition.
Side note: Are there any guys that could actually be classed as decent in the film? Christian Grey, Jack Hyde, and José Rodriguez are all terrible people.
- He denies Anastasia ‘permission’ to go to work events.
She puts up a little bit of a fight but quickly acquiesces to his demand she not go.
- His attitude towards Anastasia’s male acquaintances.
To put it bluntly, he’s a dick. His possessiveness shines through any interaction, and inevitably leads to Anastasia meekly excusing herself to chase after him.
There are plenty more examples littered throughout the film, but those are the top ones that spring to mind. Let’s get something straight Christian Grey is not a dominant. He’s controlling, mentally abusive, manipulative, and just an all-around jackass.
But, what about sex?
Oh boy, the sex. Sex sold this film, but there’s barely any in it. And when there is, it’s cut down, and condensed down into a few shots. The most ‘erotic’ scenes in the whole movie were the elevator and restaurant scenes. Both leave a little something to the imagination, and bother were featured in the trailer. In fact, I can’t think of a single-sex scene that was a surprise. They were all featured, if only for a second in the trailer. And, let’s not forget that for a film that has its own line of sex toys, there are barely any shown in the movie – a big point of the books.
Honourable awful movie mention goes to the oral sex scene. I wish I had timed it, but he goes down on her for barely a few seconds before she orgasms, with no warm-up. That doesn’t happen in real life.
Does Fifty Shades Darker have any redeeming qualities?
On the whole, no. But, as per usual with films and TV series I dislike, I liked the soundtrack. I did like the glitz and glamour of the ball, but then I do have a soft sport for masks. I also liked that Anastasia Steele grew a backbone from time to time, granted it was fleeting, but it was something. That’s my complete list of ‘good’ things about the film.
The film infuriates me, as much as any film can. There’s no chemistry, there’s barely a plot, the characters are awful, it’s utterly boring, and it’s such a weak piece of cinema. I was half tempted to turn the Fifty Shades Darker viewing experience into a drinking game – every time something idiotic happens to take a sip … by my liver wouldn’t survive the abuse.
If you want to watch films about fetish, and BDSM that is actually good, I highly recommend Preaching to the Perverted, and Secretary. Both excellent films that have substance, show kink in a better light and are actually enjoyable.
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