In fact, the plot is as old as entertainment itself. In the 1930s, the same themes were fodder for radio soap operas.
Poor working girl meets rich, powerful man of her dreams; the theme purportedly appeals to a woman’s innate, and probably prehistoric, desire to find a mate who is a good provider. But that’s old thinking.
The mantra for women ever since the rises of feminism in the 1970s is to be a good provider yourself, on par with a man.
While the movie’s anti-feminist theme is readily apparent, the hype surrounding the movie’s sex scenes has obscured the role that money and power play in the relationship. Isn’t that what really seduces Johnson’s character “Anastasia?”
The condensed trailer makes the message apparent; if you’ve got money, you’ve got power, and that, as the saying goes, is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
The opening scene establishes the power dynamic right off the bat. Christian is shown standing in front of a wall of suits. Anastasia’s wardrobe fits in a small closet.
The movie probably should have been called “50 Suits of Grey.” It reeks with crass materialism.
Then, there’s the office scene. Anastasia, a college student, arrives to interview Christian. She pauses outside his office building. She looks up and the tower looms over her, a huge and overpowering phallic symbol.
Grey, of course, is young and handsome. But if he wasn’t would that have changed the dynamic of the movie? Shallow and crass Anastasia probably wouldn’t have cared.
If you want to see a real life Christian Grey look no further than Italian businessman Flavio Briatore. He dated Heidi Klum and fathered one of her children in 2003. Then he dumped her and married Italian model Elisabetta Gregoraci.
So what if Christian has, shall we say, unusual sexual preferences; Anastasia is swept up by his worldly possessions. She delights in his toys, a soaring glider, a private helicopter, an exotic sports car and his expansive — and expensively appointed — Manhattan apartment.
Of course, she’s just a dalliance, another possession. Ultimately, he moves on and she’s left with what… memories?
In that sense, the movie fails to complete the arc in one significant way.
As more than one NBA star can tell you, the girlfriend unfailingly gets pregnant and locks in 18 solid years of child support at a level to which she’s become highly accustomed.
Now that would be a movie.
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