‘Grey’ Matter: Students respond to R-rated ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

PicMonkey Collage
Madisen Steele and Paige Adlhoch


From a book to a blockbuster film, “Fifty Shades of Grey” has managed to completely take love out of sex. Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan, degrades women by placing himself as the “dominant” in his relationship with Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson. By making a contract, he offers Anastasia the choice to sign away any chance at love to be his sex slave.

Although the decision to sign the contract was solely up to Anastasia, Christian was very persistent in persuading her to give him what he wanted. From a female standpoint, a contract such as this is very insulting. Not only does it insult women, but by taking love out of the equation, it makes men look heartless.

The contract that Christian wanted this young and vulnerable virgin girl to sign was filled with rules that she would have to follow. From her eating habits to the location of her sleep, the contract covered various aspects of Anastasia’s life.

The relationship may seem purely physical; however, there was an underlying story of love and romance that peeked through the blindfolds. The two had a chemistry that was unexplainable. The way that he looked at her; it was not out of lust, but out of fascination and complete interest. Christian’s dark and mysterious mannerisms were more than enough to get Anastasia to fall in love with him. He was gentle with her and affectionate, treating her with great respect. Christian was falling for Anastasia. Her innocence captivated all of his attention. He found himself doing and feeling things that he had never done or felt with any other woman before.

Christian is portrayed as slowly but surely cracking his hard shell and changing for this woman with whom he is so entranced. It is common to hold the belief that girls can’t change “bad boys.” Yet in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Christian, the ultimate bad boy, tells Anastasia that she is changing him.

Artist and feminist Beyoncé Knowles is featured multiple times throughout the film. It is questionable as to why she would support a film that shows women as “submissive” in a relationship. However as the film went on, Anastasia seemed to hold all the power over Christian by not signing his contract, putting her in a more “dominant” role.

The end of this film will have everyone in the audience cringing and aggravated with a cliffhanger.

There is no physical abuse in the film until the last 10 minutes when Anastasia attempts to understand why Christian Gray is the way he is.

She asks him to show her the worst punishment that she would receive for not abiding by the rules of his contract if she did indeed sign. It is then that the film’s R rating shines true. This film was clearly R-rated through the film’s very visual sex scenes, but when Christian whips Anastasia six times as she cries, it is then that all women in the audience lose respect for the once sexy and mysterious man, and hope for poor broken Anastasia to leave him instantly.



Run time: 125 mins


Jeb Brody
Dana Brunetti
Michael De Luca
E.L. James
Marcus Viscidi

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Based on: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Ratings: 25% on Rotten Tomatoes; 49% Audience score.

Synopsis: Literature student Anastasia Steele’s life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey.

Reactions: National Center on Sexual Exploitation is boycotting because it promotes sexual abuse and violence against women. Family value-oriented traditionalists are boycotting it for inappropriate material. Anti-pornography feminists protesting for the glamorized explicit content. BDSM community is upset due to misrepresentation of their lifestyle as a ‘mental illness’ rather than a ‘sexual orientation.’

Budget: $40 million (estimate)

Opening weekend sales domestic: $85,171,450

Company Credits: Universal Pictures and Focus Features

Popular quotes: “I like to see your face. Gives me some clue what you might be thinking.” – Christian Grey

The end: There is a post-credits sequence that teases events that occur in the sequel.