Before I get into my review of the movie, let's quickly talk about the book(s); since I also just finished power reading my way through the second half of the 1st book and, the entire 2nd book, '50 Shades Darker.'
Why? Well, because the 2nd movie comes out in another couple of weeks, and I know Karen is really going to want to see it. I want her to know that when there are things that she likes, that I can be interested in them too. So, I needed to be up to date on the story, so that I'm not completely clueless while we are watching the movie.
Getting through the rest of the first book was a bit difficult. I still found it rather unrealistic in regards to the underlying "theme" hinted at by "Fifty Shades;" and, well, it was a bit boring. The second book proved to be a bit more interesting; with the introduction of the scorned ex plaything of Christian gray's, and the backstabbing "Mrs. Robinson" mistress from Christian's teen years. It was still all a bit odd and weird, but reading though the 2nd book was easier.
The whole time I was reading these two stories, I had a mental picture of myself and Karen for the main characters. I guess interjecting the two of us into the swirling love story, to try to put it into perspective. In some ways, their story parallels some of our own twisted story.
Like near the end of the first book, and into the first portions of the second book, there is an emotional conflict for both lead characters; where she feels the two of them will never work, because she knows he "needs" something from her that she believes she will never be able to give to him. Meanwhile, he is so in love with her, that he is willing to try to set aside a core part of his sexual identity to try to win the love of the woman who has captured parts of his heart that he never realized could feel the way that they do.
So, there's all of that.
THEN it was time to watch the movie. Fortunately for me, it has been showing on cable, and was available On Demand.
Aside of the obvious fact that the wrong actors were cast to portray the lead characters in this film (Seriously? Dakota Johnson? Ewww!), the hardest part of watching the story unfold was when the placement or order of various scenes were swapped around for dramatic effect. Like the ending. They cut off half of the final chapter, by having her melt down as she gets into the elevator. They leave off the internal turmoil that she is contemplating in her head; between her love for the man she wants, and her fear of never being able to be the woman she fears she would have to be in order to have him be able to love her. There is so much that is left off of the ending of the movie, that it leaves me wondering how they will fit it into the beginning of the next movie in a way that doesn't leave the audience feeling cheated by the deeper story threads that tie the two books together in the adjoining chapters.
I guess I'll just have to wait to see how it all plays out when we go see the movie. it comes out at the theaters next month on the 10th.
But the movie disappointed me in other ways as well. Beyond the typical "the movie is never as good as the book." And all of the interlocking sub plot stories, that made the book at least palatable. The movie seemed to cheapen and degrade the story of Christian and Ana to nothing more than a freak show on display for an anonymous voyeur, hoping to satisfy their curiosity about the kinkier, non vanilla, aspect of sexual gratification. The love and romance is hinted at, but takes a back seat to the circus paraded in front of the camera lens. The difference between the book (which was hard enough to swallow at times) and the movie was as stark a difference between a Romantic Comedy and a NC-17 after hours Showtime skin flick acted out by comedians.
I really didn't like the way they ended it with her screaming at him, and then getting on the elevator as the credit began to roll. But that wasn't the worst part that came from watching the movie.
As the credits began to roll, the tears began to roll down my face. The story, and comparison between the book and movie had got me to thinking and analyzing the character dynamics; while thinking about the parallels of my own life's story. But ultimately, that wasn't what turned on the tears.
the hardest part to swallow was realizing that Karen liked this story, and had invested time in watching the movie for what it was. A sexual intrigue or thrill. She found it interesting. Stimulating. Like the recent series of "Fat girls do it... __________" stories that she read last month. (I read some of them too, just from curiosity.
We never have romance, intimacy, and sex in our own marriage and relationship. But she has invested time in reading about in in these stories. Whenever I have gotten the courage to risk being pushed away , ignored, or out and out rejection, and have asked her about sex and romance, I get a standard answer that starts with "If only you would do __________"
.... or any number of dozens of other excuses that she has given to me over the years that pan out to be nothing more than that. Excuses.
When I point these things out, she defaults to the final word on the subject: "I just don't want or need sex. I could go without it, and never think about it."
Well, the fact that you have invested this much time reading about it says she is a liar. The TRUTH and FACT is, she doesn't want or need sex with me. She never thinks about sex, or intimacy when it comes to me.
That realization hurts, and it cuts very deep.
I know that my wife cares about me; but if she truly cared for me, she would devote time and effort into meeting this need for me. I know that my wife loves me, but she never takes the time or initiative to make LOVE to me. And one, without the other, make both seem empty and hollow.
I would gladly prefer a regular love life to all of the instances of cooking, cleaning, laundry, or other things that seem to take priority over me in this house. It doesn't matter how many hot meals I've eaten, when my heart and spirit are starving.
So, like I do on so many other nights, I sat there watching those credits roll, and I cried.
And like the gullible, loyal to a fault, husband that I am.... one I was done crying, I latched onto a slight sliver of HOPE.
I thought back to the reasons why I took the time to cram reading a book and a half of "Fifty Shades of..." over the past two weeks.
Because, just as I did when I first bought the books for her back in JUNE of 2012 (yeah, the month of broken promises) I have hope that maybe going to see the movie together when it comes out, and being able to discuss the story and plots with her, might.. JUST MAYBE (fingers crossed), MAYBE, will make her take some interest in me, the way she has shown interest in these books and stories.
Might I be lucky enough to catch the coattail of her interest and get to have a foot in the door to her love life? Might I be able to spark an interest in her, that would have her have the same kinds of desires and feeling for me. that I have for her?
Like I said, I can only hope. I guess we'll see in about two weeks.