For several reasons, the adult romantic trilogy ‘Fifty Shades’ still continues to remain as an unbeatable epic creation in the history of erotic romantic dramas so far. Acclaimed for its juicy and exotic man-woman intimacies, the criticisms that the trilogy had garnered seem to be multifarious both in positive and negative means. When fantasy, pleasure, and pain are blended in an exotic fashion, it seems that the movie in fact experiences several lapses in its framework. And now it’s high time that a re-revision must be made on the unnoticed fabrics of the ‘Fifty Shades’.
(Re)Reading the trio: The ‘Fifty Shades’ Review
When the E. L. James’ version of Fifty Shades was adapted into movies in 2015 entitled ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ the movie bagged box office collection right from the day of its release. Narrating the troubled yet kinky relationship between the 21-year-old Anastasia “Ana” Steele, an English literature student, and Christian Grey, a 27-year-old billionaire entrepreneur the movie raised several questions about erotic sexual relationships coupled with pain and pleasure. The non-disclosure agreement signed between the two ends up in multiple dalliances. Gradually the relationship between human beings is taken over by artificial tools like BDSM toys, furniture, and gear and culminates in the sexual relationship between the two. Towards the end, Ana becomes distressed in the sexual experimentation and breaks up with Christian after concluding that he is wrong for her and his practices border on deviant and excessive.
Following this came the second sequel named ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ in 2017 which unleashed the psychologically traumatic history of Christian and also his contract with Leila who finally resorts to mental breakdown once the contract is put to end. The movie also accounts for the reunion of Christian and Ana finally leads to him proposing to her this time with a ring, and she accepts.
The final and third sequel in the trilogy got released in 2018 culminating with love’s consummation as it narrates the story of the couple getting married. The newlyweds continue with their erotic sexual experimentation, but matters become complicated when Ana announces she is pregnant. Christian is deeply disturbed, saying he had other plans for their early years together. Following this the life becomes complicated with the re-entry of his ex-lover and former BDSM dominant, Elena Lincoln. After a series of convoluted life struggles, the movie ends up in a happy note with Christian and Ana blessed with a son named Teddy, revealing the news of her second pregnancy.
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Beyond (Un)Troubled Fantasy : What is True Love?
The movie ‘Fifty Shades’ right from its birth acted as a breeding ground for several debates and controversies. It threw light on the very idea of consent and true love from a woman’s perspective. Though the novel was written by a woman, the movie seems to wriggle through a man’s perspective.
Catering to the psychoanalytical perspectives,the movie has done its best to substantiate its point of sexual fantasy as a best method to triumph over one’s libidinal desires. The over addicted use of sexual toys like BDSM toys, furniture, and gear by Christian over Ana symbolizes the victory over repressed desires. But should a woman be subjected to all these? Is it mandatory that a woman should be reduced to a mere plaything to suffice man’s need? are some of the questions that are to be debated.
In the movie the erotic sexual fantasy is heightened merely because Ana had said a yes. However she fails to find it quiet difficult to enjoy the pleasure when this fantasy is replaced by painful smacks (which for Christian is an entertainment).Thereby Ana temporarily withdrawing herself from the (un)troubled fantasy echoes the idea of ‘No’ from a woman’s perspective. Also the movie in these terms was subjected to repeated criticisms for exhibiting glamoured version domestic violence.
The so called ‘sexual experiments’ accompanied by whiplashes and gears attains a new meaning with their marriage. The fairy tale idea of true love peeps in and replaces domestic violence during the post marital scenario. When the machinery and technological artifacts replace the manly touch the holy idea of love finds no place.
The irony lies in the fact that the sexual experimentation scenes seemed to be victorious enough in arousing the opposing ideas of sexual thirst and ‘I am sick of it’ kind of feelings simultaneously. This very truth in fact masks the idea of true love and hence the choice is deemed futile.
Despite all these kinky, sadistic frameworks, the movie Fifty Shades has proved itself to be a great influence over several of its successors like the ‘After Series’ which was released in 2019 and 2020.