Film Experiment: I Made My Partner Watch Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

fifty_shades_of_grey_ver4The other day I had what seemed like a brilliant idea when reflecting on Fifty Shades of Grey – what I thought was the worst film of 2015, and what certainly was a low point for women in film. My own beliefs clashed pretty violently with this film’s implicit disregard towards women, and apart from being politically reprehensible for me, it wasn’t even a well-constructed film. For those who haven’t seen this yet, here’s the synopsis (stolen from my previous write-up):

Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a mousy and awkward young college student who is tasked with the responsibility of interviewing the massively powerful young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Anastasia, or Ana to her friends, fumbles through the interview but gains his interest, and what follows is a love story of sorts as Ana and Christian get to know one another better, and Ana gets to know Christian’s preferences in the bedroom. Christian is a man of “singular interests”, which includes inflicting pain on his romantic partners. Surprise!

My partner Adam has pretty similar beliefs to me, both of us being loud and proud feminists. Since he hadn’t yet seen Fifty Shades of Grey, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to make him watch the film so that I could record his responses to the film’s content. My hypothesis was that I would be able to capture some beautifully elucidated treatises on feminism and the representation of women’s rights on film. I was sure that this film would inspire some passionate discussion and critique, so I watched the film with him, laptop at the ready to record his genius at work.

Anyway, I was wrong. Here’s what happened.

*****

Sam Taylor-Johnson, who the hell is that?

Oh my god, he’s (Jamie Dornan) a bit wooden in this. In more ways than one. HA HA HA WHOOOAH

[referring to Dakota Johnson] Hi, I’m a bit frumpy and indie? And I have the same hair as Anna (Film Grimoire)?

Oh, he (Christian Grey) sounds wooden because he’s putting on an American accent and he’s Irish.

fifty-shades-grey

Production design’s a bit strange.

Is this the only scene in it besides the sex scenes? This is boring.

God this is boring, does this go anywhere?

There’s no point in me watching this because you know I’m a feminist and I hate this kind of shit.

[becomes bored and Googles the film] This film premiered at Berlin!?

Fifty_Shades_Of_Grey_-_Trailer_KISSTHEMGOODBYE_089

What a very patriarchal piece of shit to be written by a woman.

This is actually doing a disservice to all women, this film. And it’s also painting a pretty awful picture of the corporate white man.

Oh my god, this guy is a total serial killer.

I can’t watch this. One, it’s boring, and two, it’s frustrating.

[sees male buttocks] Ugh!

Fifty_Shades_Of_Grey_-_Trailer_KISSTHEMGOODBYE_138

Yeah, this guy’s obviously not making any money because he just sits around [bleep]ing all day.

[begins whistling The Smiths’ ‘This Charming Man’]

Halfway point: I feel like nothing’s happened.

[contract signing scene] Geez, calm down on the music Danny (composer Danny Elfman). The stakes for this film are so low that Danny has to work overtime on the music to make us feel like there are emotional stakes.

Just say yes or say no! God!

Fifty_Shades_Of_Grey_-_Trailer_KISSTHEMGOODBYE_167

[Danny Elfman music escalates] Calm down Danny!

Rrreeedd Rrrrooommm [referring to The Shining]. I want to watch Dial M for Murder later.

Me: So listen Adam, I need you to say some smart shit because so far you’ve got complaints about Danny Elfman’s music, whistling The Smiths and complaining about how bored you are.

Oh, yes! We only have half an hour to go!

So did she sign the contract and I missed it?

heres-the-first-trailer-for-fifty-shades-of-grey-that-was-too-racy-to-show-on-tv

I’m surprised he’s managed to find 15 women to do this. Then again this was written by a woman and half of middle aged women in America [bleeeeep] to this book.

“That’s myyy sideboob” – referring to this scene from Family Guy.

Oh, calm down Danny. The TV can’t handle it.

Don Johnson just had a heart attack.

[makes awkward face]

fifty-shades-of-grey-movie

So when did she sign the contract?

That’s outrageous!

This is so PG-ified.

This film is pretty poorly done. It’s like Neighbours. I can’t wait to watch Dial M for Murder.

This guy is a dick.

Fifty_Shades_Of_Grey_-_Trailer_KISSTHEMGOODBYE_218

Has she signed the contract yet?

For a film about sex, this is one of the most boring films I’ve ever watched.

Adam: This is beautifully directed.
Me: Are you serious?
Adam: No.

Dornan is good in The Fall but he may as well be a log in this film. Doot-doot-doot-doot! [referencing the Family Guy scene where Keanu Reeves has a woodpecker tapping at his forehead]

Pathetic. This just annoys me.

Fifty_Shades_Of_Grey_-_Trailer_KISSTHEMGOODBYE_220

Structurally, this film is pretty much a rom-com without the comedy and without the romance and the payoff. It continues to push patriarchal assumptions and stereotypes.

Final thoughts: That is a pathetic film. I’ve just wasted two hours of my life. It’s just such a cynical Hollywood production though. Let’s get all these pop artists on the soundtrack, get the dopey inferior version of Hans Zimmer who used to write the Batman scores and is just over the top every time he writes a soundtrack and always completely misses the emotional point of a scene, get a hot looking guy and hot looking girl, and just make something that goes nowhere. Pathetic. And as I’ve said previously, it just re-affirms gender norms and stereotypes. There is nothing good about it. It’s a pile of shit.

*****

Well, that was my experiment. I am unsure whether this was a successful exercise. Have you ever forced someone to watch a film to see whether the response would be insightful or not? Did I waste another two hours of my life on this film? I think I may have.

38 comments

  1. Too funny. I’ve seen this film and haven’t reviewed it, but my experience was similar. My wife and I were pretty much bored by it.

    The books, on the other hand…infuriating as hell. I’ve slogged through all of them. Ugh.

    1. Oh yeah, I read the books because I was working in a bookshop at the time. Biggest waste of time ever. The whole thing was just the absolute worst!

  2. This was really funny. Great idea.

  3. That’s hilarious 😁 Good experiment! Felt same way about book. I want those few hours back!

    1. Always love a good experiment! 😀 Such bad books though, huge wastes of time.

  4. Hahaha! This is priceless! I haven’t (and won’t) see the movie because I still haven’t recovered from reading the book. The first time in my life I was tempted to burn one!

    1. Oh yeah, I’m not a fan of book burnings either but Fifty Shades would definitely be up there on the list of things to singe!

  5. Awesome! It is a terrible, terrible film and I’m glad your partner thinks so too!

    1. Me too, he has good taste! 😀

  6. Wow… well done. There is zero chance Mr O would have agreed to this. Earlier in our relationship I tried making him watch things he hadn’t picked but the huffing and fidgeting makes it unbearable because he is incapable of hiding his feelings. Even now if we go to a movie and halfway through he decides he doesn’t like it (like Foxcatcher) he just goes home and leaves me to finish it in peace. Haha! Mr Filmgrimoire is obviously much more patient.

    1. Haha! I have to say, there was a fair amount of huffing and fidgeting during this one. Mr FG is a very patient customer indeed! I do respect Mr O’s acknowledgement that time is precious, though. If I had walked out of more shitty films then my life would probably be a lot more productive!

  7. Spot on with those Family Guy references. Hilarious!

    1. He’s full of those!

  8. I love this post. Adam is so perfectly “on” about this film. I’d say this was definitely a successful exercise.

    1. Thanks heaps! 😀 His frustration and sarcasm is our reward!

  9. I think you have just saved us all two hours of our lives with this post! Kudos to you and the hubby! 🙂

    1. Happy to do anything to help! 😀

  10. This was really funny, loved reading Adam’s observations. I’d hare to sit through this movie.

    1. Thanks heaps Vinnie! It’s a pretty bad film!

      1. I have no desire to see this movie ever.

  11. Interesting experiment! I for one found it to be hilarious. My favourite was this:

    ” It’s like Neighbours”

    Hahahaha!!! If you look and sound like Neighbours then you just KNOW your movie is total shit!!

    1. Haha! I think Neighbours is actually better than this!

      1. Now that really is an achievement!

  12. Haha! You might now have got the response you were thinking but this sure was funny to read! Can we have more posts like this with Adam?!
    – Allie

    1. Thanks heaps! I may just inflict more cinematic pain on him and get his responses to other lame films. Maybe I’ll make him watch the sequel!!

  13. Ha! Funny! Well, he’s a good sport to sit through this. I don’t think I could! 🙂

    1. He’s a very good sport! I actually felt bad for putting him through it!

  14. Think I’ll keep this one on the back burner.

    1. Probably for the best! 😀

  15. I haven’t seen this movie and I don’t think I can top this commentary, so I think I’ll keep it that way.

    1. Haha! I would never suggest putting yourself through this terrible film. It’s so bad.

  16. Can you please do more experiments like this ?

    1. I would love to! Depends on how much my partner is willing to tolerate though! 😀

    1. Super late reply from me, but thanks heaps! 😀

  17. […] of the first film. That didn’t stop me from watching the first film twice though, because I made my partner watch it as well to gauge his reaction. That also didn’t stop me from watching this second film in the […]

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