This was an erotic movie about college graduate Ana Steele training to be a reporter and young entrepreneur Christian Grey who she is tasked to interview.
Christian Grey is the American dream personified – he had wealth, brains and looks. Beneath the ideal facade is a troubled past paved with lots of women, none of whom he was serious with. Then he meets Ana Steele, and for the first time he falls seriously in love. Also for the first time does Ana find herself sucked into a relationship. Like anyone in love for the first time, she is willing to do anything to make her new flame happy.
But little did Ana know that Christian’s road to paradise would equate to her trip to hell. The movie unfolds with a revelation of Christian’s sadistic approach to kinky sex. This leaves Ana trapped in a relationship with someone she loves and wants to understand, a relationship where she has to succumb to his sadism to give him pleasure, and a relationship where her happiness is replaced with physical and emotional pain.
It turns out that Christian went through his own share of child abuse and was raised by a ‘crackwhore’ mother. Whatever that means, the obvious consequence is a need to dominate one’s partner and, at least subconsciously, a need to hurt one’s partner, perhaps out of revenge.
Taking a closer look at this movie which seems to have nothing beyond pornographic value, the viewer is led to consider some rather disturbing insights about human nature.
1. Lack of self-esteem and insecurity can have painful consequences.
Christian Grey and Ana Steele had common traits – they both lacked self-esteem and they were both insecure. This is the conclusion that may be drawn when a woman allows herself to be her partner’s punching bag, and a man, in order to feel loved, will control his partner to such an extent that he dictates what she eats, buys her gadgets for him to monitor her every move, and buys out the company she works for as an over the top attempt to control her life.
The likes of Ana may equate love with the willingness to sacrifice. But even sacrifices have limits. Only a person with a total lack of self-esteem would be willing to sacrifice mind, body and soul to the altar of their partner’s ego. Only a person insecure to the core would need total domination over another , as they harness the fear of abandonment.
2. Some people have the need to control others, and they control those they can.
Ana Steele has the mentality of a child. Either that, or everyone has an inner Goddess that jumps up and down with cheer leader pom-poms. The same inner Goddess that would mourn over losing an ice cream cone. The childlike nature of Ana makes her the perfect victim for control hungry Christian Grey.
Just like a child in the process of developing a personality, Ana does not have any clear standards as to what is acceptable and what is not. Until she learns to define her own limitations, the likes of Christian will be more than willing to feed their hunger for control at her expense.
3. Mothers play a more important role in a man’s life than he is willing to admit.
Christian Grey calls his mother a ‘crackwhore’ and he is attracted to women who look like her. The implications of being attracted to, and by extension wanting to screw, a woman who looks like one’s mother is disturbing beyond words. And yet, Christian’s less than positive impression of his abusive mother may hold the key to the sadistic pleasure he gets from hurting the women who look like her. The stable life she failed to provide may hold the key to his need to take control and escape from the chaos he grew up with.
The still unresolved conflict in the movie is the sincere love that Christian Grey has developed for Ana Steele. He loves her and the only way he knows how to show it is by hurting her because pain is the only manifestation of love he was raised with.
Ana Steele has fallen in love for the first time, and she has to confront the question of just how much she is willing to sacrifice. While she wants to discover and understand who Christian really is, she has to come to grips with the fact that this may only be done through a lot of pain on her part.