50 Shades of Controversy

Two box office crazed movies: Fifty Shades of Grey and American Sniper take the heat due to misunderstandings of the films’ message.


Headlines in big bold letters are plastered across gossip websites, thousands of tweets are trending on twitter, all of them broadcasting the newest controversy. Feuds online and offline break out, no one can stop talking about it. Controversies and scandals become the focus of our conversations almost naturally.

This weeks new controversy: Fifty Shades of Grey. When the steamy romance series was released, parents were fearful, republicans were furious, and basically it was frowned upon. So when critics found out that the popular adult series was being made into a movie, it became even more buzz worthy.

Surprisingly the controversy of this movie wasn’t due to the R rated sexual material, it was due to the “promotion” of rape and abuse. In the book and the movie, the main male character, Christian Grey, asks Anastasia Steele to sign a BDSM contract. The contract allowed the couple to engage in a safe but playful relationship between the two adults. Due to Grey’s strange characteristics, people often perceive him to be: controlling, abusive, stalking—just basically someone you don’t want to be dating.

Senior Dayna Whitaker read the book recently and believes that the controversy is nothing but a misunderstanding of the characters’ rather confusing relationship. Whitaker believes that the Grey’s true character was revealed through scenes and conversations that the movie skipped out on.

“Most of the people who are getting mad are the people who haven’t read the book,” Whitaker said. “You understand their relationship and how it’s not abusive if you read the book and get to know the characters. The movie doesn’t do it justice at all.”

Agreeing with Whitaker, senior Payton Steiner also believes that the movie was focused more about the physical part of the relationship over the emotional aspect. She believes that the story should have developed slowly. According to Steiner, in the first ten minutes out of the two hour movie, the characters are already kissing, compared to the book, they don’t have any intimate contact until about chapter eight.

Due to the almost immediate physical contact, Steiner believes that the movie was getting people to watch the movie for that instead of the storyline.

“They just focused so much about the sex scenes and twisted it into abuse. They forgot to put in the love part of the story,” Steiner said. “The movie made their love seem more like abuse than love.”

The misconception of movies is not a rare thing. Another recent box office breaking movie, American Sniper, also caused dispute. The film’s message about the physiological and emotional effects of veterans was not discussed.

Instead, it became a political debate on the Iraq war and if Chris Kyle (the legend sniper who killed about 160 people) should be considered a hero. The dispute started when celebrities: Seth Rogen and Michael Moore tweeted satirical comments about the movie and the war.

Senior Ariel Burke has seen both Fifty Shades of Grey and American Sniper and was disgusted with both controversies.

“I researched a lot about it [American Sniper] before I saw the movie, I felt like it stayed true to the facts without any controversy,” Burke said. “Fifty Shades of Grey was also misunderstood, but that was their fault for not portraying the story well.”

Although Burke disagrees with both controversies, she was not overall happy with both movies. Both movies failed to capture the moral of the stories, according to Burke.

“Personally I didn’t feel like the movie did him justice. It felt like another other war movie until the end,” Burke said. “Fifty Shades of Grey wasn’t worth seeing either due to the huge difference between the book and the movie.”