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Op-ed: Shady Showdown: Book vs. Movie

By: Sarah Mohamed

Fifty Shades of Grey has caused a lot of controversy since its release in 2011. Some say that it glamorizes abuse and is a misrepresentation of the BDSM community.  Others like it because of its risqué content that pushes the envelope.

With the frenzy of both positive and negative press surrounding the novel, it’s a no-brainer why the movie was so highly anticipated.

I went into the theatre, ready to watch and critique the film independent of the novel, since movie adaptations usually modify a number of elements.

Although I could already tell that it couldn’t compare to the book, this film shouldn’t even have the right to market itself as being “based off of the novel.”

Instead, it is merely inspired by the novel, because the film adaptation didn’t do the book justice at all.

It actually proved the naysayers of the book right. It was the embodiment of everything that they said was wrong with the book.

Not only was there a very strong emphasis on Christian Grey’s characteristics that were borderline abusive, but the director portrayed him as a sex hungry and possessive freak with a billion dollar bank account to help fund his cravings.

The story unfolds as the book’s protagonist, college student Anastasia Steele, interviews young entrepreneur Christian. Anastasia desperately wants to grow closer to him despite his constant warnings. Soon Christian admits he wants her too.

However, Anastasia will have to play by his rules, and she soon finds herself introduced to the world of BDSM.

Torn between what she thinks she should do and her desires telling her otherwise, Anastasia struggles to decide what’s right when there’s nothing but blindfolds and Christian.

While reading the book, I was disappointed by the characterization of the main character.

Initially, Anastasia is portrayed as shy, awkward, and innocent, but there are times when her “innocence” crosses the line of being naive.

Christian is what causes the book to have so much controversy.

His behavior can be interpreted as abusive, possessive, and obsessive. He is the typical troubled guy persona with a dark past that the girl thinks she can help him heal from.

The storyline of Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie, made the book into more of a concept than a plot, and the way that the director chose to take the angles and add in background music made something cheesy out of what could have been a powerful scene.

It was said that E.L. James often fought with the director about how he was portraying the story in order to do the book justice.

Although they aimed to please, Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie, came up short.

About Farhin Lilywala

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