I enjoy movies. A lot. I appreciate great story lines. I get drawn by both great cinematography. I become invested in characters when an actor/actress does a good job.
But this February, I won’t be watching the Valentine’s Day movie release Fifty Shades of Grey.
Between the product description of the book on Amazon (which includes words to describe the main characters such as “erotic tastes” and “passionately physical affair”), overheard discussions, Facebook status updates about Fifty Shades of Grey ever since the book came out, and unexpectedly viewing the trailer during Mockingjay, I’ve been able to draw the conclusion that the story is most definitely not for me. Or any Catholic. Or Christian. Or, for anyone really.
Despite the author’s description of Fifty Shades of Grey as an “old fashioned love story,” what I’ve actually heard it called is more often is “erotic romance” or “acceptable porn.”
A story with sexually explicit scenes of domination/submission, bondage/discipline and sadism/masochism doesn’t speak to the dignity of the human person we believe in. It makes out the female character, Ana, to be an object of desire and lust, not of value, devaluing the dignity of the female. Additionally, the male character Christian Grey hijacks the meaning of what it means to truly be a man. Instead of loving, caring and suffering for the woman he loves (as Christ did for us and as God calls men to do in relationships (Ephesians 5:25-28), Grey dominates.
Knowing all this, the fact that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is coming out on Valentine’s Day seems like a perverse joke.
It’s going to be a challenge to believe and speak against the excitement of this movie, especially in the coming weeks. And as Catholics and Christians we are called to help keep each other accountable in our faith journey. So why shouldn’t we watch Fifty Shades of Grey? And how can we talk about it with others? Here’s a great article and video on “50 Things to Know about 50 Shades of Grey” that will help.