A number of years ago someone asked me if I had read the “Shade” trilogy by E. L. James (why bother with sensational rubbish?); after thawing from frigid stultification, I ordered the whole shebang on my Kindle, resurrected my long dormant Evelyn Wood speed reading versatility and spent three days in the sadomasochistic world of “Christian Grey” and “Anastasia Steele”. Here are a few of my observations:
1. Hurrah to E. L. James for creating a tale of sexual histrionics for millions of readers; capitalism is good and legitimate.
2. Many of the aerobic, twisted tools of titillation have been around for thousands of years; the Japanese and Chinese perfected the art of perversity and pain culminating in sublime satisfaction. James Michener and James Clavell included many of these ancient, prurient practices in their novels; massively better written.
3. Christian and Anastasia’s dominant/submissive contract, preposterously inconceivable for the norm, resonates in today’s permissive society.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” concluded with Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) leaving the tortured, depraved Christian (Jamie Dornan). In essence, the “contract” is null and void.
“Fifty Shades Darker” finds Christian, with full court press/quest, trying to woo her back; for us viewers, wish it would have taken longer before the moans and groans plummeted our sensibilities and the inane dialogue numbed our intellects. Dakota and Dornan are delicious to look at but the interest dies there. Director James Foley’s vision is lackluster and excruciatingly plodding.
After reading Dr. Jeanne Safer’s analysis of this film, realize that Christian’s demons are addictive and in need of a robust intervention; a simple marriage is not potent enough to erase an addiction that has plagued and consumed him since he was a little boy, (now 27). Which in retrospect softens “Elena’s” despicable character (Kim Basinger); she was his introduction into the world of untoward sexual fantasies; she recognized and fed his proclivities and knows there is no easy out; “love”, an aphrodisiac, not an antibiotic.
So will I venture into the third and final “Shade” film, focusing on two handsome people, in their “lust for life”, bereft of introspection or self-analysis? Absolutely!