By Mia Potamianos, Jamie Boeheim, and Jenna Vespi
“Anyone can write anything they want, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But whether it becomes a published book or a published movie, is another story,” said Jamesville-Dewitt High School English teacher Terri Eaton in reaction to the controversy concerning the plot of the new movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” written by E.L. James and directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. The controversy comes from the abusive relationship presented in the film along with the graphic descriptions of sex in both the book and on screen.
The story follows the main character, a wealthy business owner, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) who is dominate in a relationship over a literature college graduate student, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). The relationship starts after they first meet at an interview in Mr. Grey's office. After the interview, they become friends and later grow to be more than friends. However, their relationship is not conventional and could be considered abusive. In the beginning of their relationship, Mr. Grey makes Steele sign a contract which says that their relationship is secret, he can do whatever he wants to and with her which includes hurting her, and more which exposes the a busiveness.
The popularity of this movie may seem surprising, in light of the fact that in the past year there has been a lot in the media about domestic abuse from situations in the NFL and sexual assault on college campuses. Because of these things, is glamorizing such relationships in a blockbuster movie and book a good thing?
“I don't think teens should be watching this movie; it should be strictly 18 and over,” said freshman Maya Frieden. “It’s an adult movie, not for kids, and there is lots of sexual content. It’s rated R,” agrees freshman Joey Armenta. Sophomore Alex Epifani thought the film was going to be less sexual and was “really uncomfortable” while watching it in the theatre. She also believes Grey and Steel’s association “sets a bad example for relationships and teenagers should not be exposed to this kind of relationship.” Torrens also asked a question that many have when viewing such relationships: “I don't know why she didn't just stand up for herself and take more control, because obviously if he cared about her he’d be okay with whatever.”
Sophomore Alex Frank thinks the relationship felts uncomfortable and the two “didn’t seem connected in any way.” I (Jamie Boeheim) recently saw the movie and agree with Frank. Steele and Grey were an awkward and disturbing couple, however once they became closer than what Grey’s contract, which said the two could not associate outside of his house, mandated, they didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable.
The film reveals that the reason Mr. Grey is so abusive and oppressive is because when he was younger, his mother's friend was dominant and abusive over him. Freshman Carlena Torrens thinks that aspect is “kind of sad, like (his relationship with Anastasia) makes sense because that’s how Christian Grey was raised. But (the relationship) was kind of awkward, but that’s reality; it’s sad.”
Many students agree with Frank and Epifani, and although this relationship is still inappropriate, Steele and Grey begin to actually fall in love with each other. The relationship changes to become more “normal.” They begin to go on dates, become public, and change the way they talk to each other. Freshman Jungyun Kim said, “the relationship was pretty cute, because it was a movie but if it was in real life I feel like it would be like not a good place to be.” Either way, some believe the relationship was wrong, however, at times throughout the movie, it was not completely abnormal.
Many students weren’t exactly sure what the film was about before seeing it in theatres, and said they were taken by surprise. Freshman Carlena Torrens “kind of knew the main idea” and so was surprised, as was Kim, who believed the film was just a love story, and “didn't really know about relationships like that before the movie.” However, she doesn’t think such relationships are “stereotypical,” and still liked the movie.