From “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Fifty Shades Darker” and now, ladies and gentlemen: “Fifty Shades Freed.” What began as Twilight fanfiction for author E. L. James has now transformed into a three-part cinematic facepalm. Finally, this saga, like all mediocre things, has come to an end.
I rewatched “Fifty Shades of Grey” the other day with my roommates, just for kicks, and I still can’t get over the fact that the actor who plays Christian Grey, Jamie Dornan, used to act in Freeform’s (formerly ABC) fairytale drama “Once Upon a Time.” If you don’t believe me, Google it. He played the Evil Queen’s servant/boy toy, Sheriff Graham Humbert. After witnessing the antics of Christian Grey and good ol’ Sheriff Graham, it seems to me that Jamie Dornan can’t escape the typecast of “brooding leading man swept up in questionable sexual endeavors.”
While doing research on the cast of the artistic masterpiece “Fifty Shades Freed,” I found out, much to my amusement, that Dornan’s older sister Liesa works for Disney in London. I pictured a conversation in her workplace going something like this:
“Hey, Liesa, I meant to ask—how’s your brother doing?”
“Oh, actually, he just got cast in a movie!”
“Wow, that’s impressive. What movie?”
I mean, really. What do you say in response to that, especially to a coworker? Are you proud? Embarrassed? Do you play the role of loyal sister or do you assume the position of self-respecting feminist?
Now, I am not disparaging the world of BDSM by any means. In fact, I recall reading an article where the BDSM community actually lashed back at the “Fifty Shades” series, critiquing the films for being “Fifty Shades Inaccurate and Offensive.” I can’t blame anyone for finding fault with this romantic trauma (trauma, not drama)—there’s a lot to pick apart. I find it difficult to enjoy an onscreen romance where one partner exerts an unhealthy amount of control over the other, no matter what the context is.
The mentality that a person can “change another” in a relationship is a dangerous concept to explore, yet is pervasive in many works of fiction. Even in “Once Upon a Time,” (yes, I’m going back to that reference) the main character Emma manages to change Captain Hook’s criminalistic ways through her undying love. Or the better known “Grease,” where Danny’s leather-jacket-wearing and cigarette smoking ways rub off on Sandy by the end of the two-hour musical phenomena. It’s a charming notion, and I’m not saying that love is not powerful and capable of many things, but I don’t think it’s a healthy notion for people to get in their heads when discussing real-life relationships.
According to an article on Psychology Today’s website, a person should never enter a committed relationship, especially marriage, with the mindset that a person will eventually stop lifelong behaviors like eating potato chips loudly, not doing laundry on a regular basis or turning romance into a series of contracts. I’m talking to you, Anastasia.
I think the message of being true to who you are is important to keep in mind, especially in our day and age. So, if you do indulge in watching the escapades of Christian and Anastasia, don’t model your relationship—or really, any of your life decisions—after their story.
Domenica Castro is a first-year student majoring in theater. ✉ DC874612@wcupa.edu.