5 Reasons to See 50

We are still two weeks away from the premier of 50 Shades of Grey and the controversy is already heating up. Twitter was abuzz this morning with giggling-behind-my-hand, junior-high level salacious comments about guys getting some action if they take their date to see it. The purveyors of outrage porn have started the ground-swell of indigent (and mostly completely misinformed) anger. (But hey, if it gets you retweets, why bother researching before you speak.)

I didn’t feel the need to tell the world that I will be going to see it, with a date, and plan on enjoying the hell out of an interesting love story featuring two beautiful people, a great soundtrack and some beautiful scenery. But the level of crazy already surrounding this movie has me wanting to at least throw my perspective as a romance writer into the mix. 

What is it about elevators?

Before I explain why you might want to see it, let me add a few disclaimers. This film is based on the books that are not great literature. Public success and great writing usually have an inverse relationship especially when it comes to writing about sex. It also isn’t a how-to primer on BDSM. If you read one of those you would see that E.L. James did some research, but she barely touches on this complex, widely-varied sexual community. It also isn’t supporting the abuse of women. The main female character is a willing, albeit naive, participant. It’s really a pretty simple story with no political or instructional agenda. 

So, why dedicate another blog post to it? Why am I going to see it?

1. It’s a love story–a sexy love story, something we are so sadly lacking in America. I love to go to the movies and I can’t tell you how many times I have had the time and desire only to find that my choices are either Hot Tub Time Machine 2 or more death and gore in two hours than I want to see in a lifetime. Reading a book or seeing a movie is all about how it makes you feel. Personally, I want to feel sexy rather than moronic or grossed out.

2. I like that these books and this film are at least opening up a dialogue about different types of sexuality. The BIG news that emerged from these books is that not everyone likes their sex the same way. Reading about it and learning doesn’t equate with signing up and joining in. Half the stuff on social media is misinformed or childish, but at least we are talking. And it has couples talking and possibly admitting that they might want more than decades of rote sex with each other.

3. The movie might lead to more couples having more sex and I can’t see that as a bad thing. I am all for women and couples finding the books or movies that turn them both on. It can’t be repeated enough that the way to turn a woman on is through her brain. We need to think sexy thoughts, a lot of them, in order to push the massive, running to-do list that we all carry out of the front-and-center position in our brains. Two hours of beautiful people talking and acting sexy just might do the trick.

4. If this movie does well in theaters then we might get more sexy love stories in the future. I like the idea of us being a more sexy and less violent nation. I would love to see a steady stream of different types of love stories pouring out of Hollywood. (And a steady stream of writers getting big, fat checks for their romance novels being made into movies. Self-serving, but true.)

5. This is sexy done for women by women on a big budget movie. I teach a film class so I can say with authority that Hollywood has not often been open to the idea that women are sexual beings and not just the reluctant or exploited objects of male lust. The female lead character in this film may seem to be an innocent led astray, but the outcome of this romantic tug-of-war for power says otherwise.

So there it is, my two cents worth. And as I do with all my blog posts I will now tweet, post and pin it; hoping to add a slightly authoritative (or at least well thought out) voice into all that crazy. 

Join me and add your two cents and comment. Will you see the movie? In theaters or at home? Did you read the books? Are you ready for more sexy and fewer violent films?


2 thoughts on “5 Reasons to See 50

  1. Thank you for the well reasoned argument, Karen–definitely agree with most of what you're saying!

    I have to make some points though. Firstly, yes; we have violent films. But does this necessarily indicate violent *people*–or something more subtle than that? After all: I enjoy my fair share of violent games and cinematography; and yet, I don't feel any desire to act what I see–nor, indeed, do I consider myself a violent person.

    My question is: are violent films inciting to violence–or are they are really a medium by which to express darker thoughts without judgement? And by doing so, do we promote violence–or do we allow ourselves to dissect our inner thoughts, and release pent up emotion?

    Also, consider the relationship between fifty shades and–as you soon bluntly put it–sex. Do you think most of the viewers are watching it for the sexual content, or merely because it's still considered a little taboo?

    As for your comment on the character being an object of male lust, or being coerced–that's definitely a point to address. It seems to be the automatic response to fifty shades (though it's unlikely the author meant it this way); and I do wonder why. We seem very keen to attribute malice to those who act licentiously. We also seem to have the ingrained stereotype that the de facto position is abuse/coercion–not people enjoying a healthy relationship. I find this worrying.

    Lastly, I wonder whether we should be giving fifty shades any promotion. Surely there are better works to occupy ourselves with?

    Tell me what you guys think,


  2. Alex,

    Thank you for your well reasoned points. I wouldn't say that violent films incite violence, but they leave you with a definitely different mood and feeling. I personally don't like being creeped out. I realize lots of people like the gory stuff, but at least in the U.S. we have an over-abundance of it.
    I think most of those going to see 50 are looking for the sexy stuff in general. I don't think it's about one scene as much as the general idea and mood of the film.
    Although it is brought up in the books and film that this and all Christian's BDSM relationships are completely consensual and for the benefit of both parties. I wonder if there would be an outcry about male abuse if this was a story about a female dom and her male sub?
    Lastly, its not so much that I want to promote it as be part of a discussion. Like the books or hate them, they are a social phenomenon. Sure I could always post away about Dumas and “La Dammes Aux Camelias” with the hope of reaching the .005% of the U.S. population who might have read this sexy classic.


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