A Food-Lover’s Review of All the Eating Scenes in “Fifty Shades of Grey”
I saw Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m shocked to admit that I didn’t hate it.
I may have been too drunk to really notice what a garbage film it was. My roommate and I had met her friends (all paralegals with big Hollywood dreams) at the theater’s upstairs bar prior to the screening. We loaded up on weak vodka sodas while we waited for what we hoped would be the best/worst movie of the decade.
In a city where no one takes public transportation, my roommate and I had braved the Los Angeles Metro System for the sole purpose of drinking our faces off. (Driving everywhere really puts a limit on one’s alcohol consumption.)
But while everyone was moving on to their second drink, I was reaching for the appetizer menu. I can’t sit in a restaurant, even if it’s technically a bar, and not order food. It goes against my very nature.
I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, Popcorn Chicken, in an attempt to coat my stomach in preparation for the night’s debauchery. The appetizer turned out to be hard, little chicken nuggets served in a faux-popcorn carton. Even though they had no flavor, the honey mustard that accompanied them was divine. I drowned the chicken in that golden sauce and barely even looked up to acknowledge the conversation that was happening about Jamie Dornan’s Irish accent.
No rational person would bother to comment on the food situation on-screen in Fifty Shades of Grey, but when the sequences of BDSM turned out to be rather vanilla, I had to find something else to focus on.
In one of the beginning scenes, Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, makes herself a chicken-salad sandwich. Chicken salad is my favorite kind of salad — all of a sudden, I was very interested in this movie. But while she’s telling her roommate about Mr. Grey, something shocking happens: her roommate steals her sandwich! Dakota Johnson has her mouth wide open and is about to take a bite when that greedy-guts roommate just grabs it out of her hands and takes it into another room.
What kind of monster is this woman? Is she trying to drop a hint that her roommate had better limit her food intake now that she’s about to be naked for the next hour and a half? What’s worse is that after the sandwich is gone, Dakota doesn’t even make herself another one. She just sighs and puts the chicken salad back in the fridge!
Spoiler alert: Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele have sex. On the morning after that blissful first time, Steele is shown prancing around the kitchen in Grey’s button-down shirt. She makes pancakes and wiggles her butt to “Beast of Burden” by the Rolling Stones.
Anyone who has ever been forced to listen to me sing karaoke probably knows that “Beast of Burden” is my go-to song. Whenever I hear that opening guitar lick, I scream like a young girl seeing the Beatles for the first time — I just can’t help it.
The song might be a little “on the nose” for a movie about S & M, but when I saw that kinky couple shyly smiling at each other while eating pancakes to the cooing of Mick Jagger, I knew I was looking at my ideal fantasy â€” breakfast, a boyfriend, and the Stones. Suddenly, I was kind of hooked, just like all the middle-age women in my mother’s book club.
Later on, our favorite couple is looking over a contract in a darkened Grey Enterprises boardroom. (My paralegal companions were very interested in this scene.) As they talk about clauses and subsections, two blonde assistants deliver plates of sushi and white wine. Then, for the next 10 minutes, NOBODY TOUCHES THE FOOD. The fish just sits there, getting warm from the heat waves Anastasia and Christian are supposed to be emitting.
After the scene ended, those hot blondes probably got to feast on the forgotten tuna rolls. When my office bought everyone Chipotle this week, I couldn’t help but imagine what leftovers I’d be eating if I worked for Christian Grey.
Our theater seats were right in the center of the auditorium. While this is the perfect spot for movie-watching, it is a terrible seat for people with tiny bladders. My beverages were moving through me and I was trapped. I was so focused on forgetting that I had to pee that I neglected to pay proper attention to the two family-dinner scenes.
When Anastasia visits her mom in Georgia, I think everyone is forced to eat vegetables because the mother’s husband has been sitting around the house with a leg injury and mommy doesn’t want hubby to get fat. I’m really glad they devoted a scene to that important backstory.
At Christian’s house, they probably just drank wine, like the lackluster vampires they were based on. Maybe the inexplicably French sister whipped up a quiche.
After the movie ended, I was ready to lose my inhibitions at a bar. I was single and I had just seen Melanie Griffith’s daughter get smacked with a riding crop. My companions, however, wanted to eat. (They should have shared my flavorless bar chicken.)
We filed into an upscale fast-food place that specializes in salads and vegan deserts. In between bites of lettuce, my companions discussed the differences between the movie and the book. When I asked them about that ridiculous sandwich-stealing scene, one paralegal turned up her nose and said, “Who just has a giant bowl of chicken salad sitting in their fridge?” Everyone agreed, until I invited them to check out the contents of my own fridge.
If I were writing my own erotic best seller, I’d be sure to incorporate food into the naughty scenes. Really good food (chocolate especially) can make you feel like you’ve just been kissed. I’ve certainly crème brulee that got me more hot and bothered than a drunken fumble in the dark. If I had to choose between sexting and looking at people’s dinner on Instagram, I’d take the food porn without hesitation.
When the paralegals had finally finished their post-Grey post-mortem, we moved on to a 70s-themed speakeasy. Once I’d gotten tipsy on blue-tinged cocktails, I danced alongside men in leisure suits and watched a sequined girl roller skate on the bar’s roof.
Later, once my roommate and I had taken the rain back home, I made myself a chicken-salad sandwich. (okay, I just ate the chicken salad out of the bowl with a spoon.) My roommate refrained from stealing my snack. Somebody ought to tell E.L. James about that.
This piece was originally published by XO Jane.com on March 4th, 2015.