Christian Grey Needs a Friend
Maybe that’s the problem.
I just watched Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time. All I knew about the franchise was that it had the same effect on audiences as the Mr. Clean Super Bowl ad.
The plot of Fifty Shades of Grey generally makes sense. About to graduate college, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) fills in for her friend and interviews billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), who only seems to employ good looking women. There’s a spark, they spend some cute nights together, and conflict arises when he wants her to sign an NDA — typical billionaire — so he can dominate her with a superfluous collection of whips and handcuffs.
The crux of the movie hinges on Steele signing the contract. Which, ok, Grey is wealthy. Maybe he deals with contracts so much that they get him off? I enjoyed that angle, but wish there were loud, scene-causing arguments over The Contract at a fancy dinner or two.
Throughout, there are charming moments of spanking, romance, and a weird, awkward bathtub scene where I thought I missed that Steele had been rendered incapable of washing herself due to a horrific accident.
Spoiler: Christian likes washing the woman he invites to live at his apartment like a quasi-prisoner.
I Kept an Open Mind, Except…
All of these sprinkles on the sadist cake distract from one major flaw in Christian Grey: the dude has no friends.
I don’t mean that we see him glad-handing a group of fun bros at a steakhouse and never see them again, I mean Christian Grey literally has zero friends. (Um, instant alarm bells?)
Here’s a guy who, we’re led to believe, is the Tony Stark of his world. He is hot. He is a billionaire. He dresses like he’s in a movie. He jogs until he’s sweaty and needs to take off his shirt — to reveal his killer chest and mysterious scars (ooh, what happened?!).
But where are his friends? Grey is 27 and doesn’t even have a sidekick? Like, how are you going to spend your money without an entourage? He has a driver, who is a pensive mix of pro wrestler and ex-Navy Seal. The driver knows when Mr. Grey has a lot on his mind, but that’s not enough for me to believe they’re buddos.
Christian has an adopted family but doesn’t seem to like them. His mom has never seen him with a woman, which, adding that detail to his admission that fifteen women have come before Steele, Christian hides a huge area of his life from everyone (the women, not the playroom). It seems so lonely.
Is Christian Grey a 90-year-old man in a slow, dramatic British film? He plays the piano. Not like Tom Hanks in Big, but super sad bummer remix piano. He is also a pilot. (Swoon, right?) Except he only flies with the woman he’s wooing. No Top Gun buddy fun here. On top of it all, Christian has no social life. Maybe the theme of the movie is that money doesn’t make you happy? Kudos.
Christian Grey Needs a Role Model
Friends help us vent. They also talk us out of precarious situations. Grey could have used that before showing up in Georgia when Anastasia wouldn’t answer her phone. He was basically a lonely, damaged guy who doesn’t understand boundaries yet in the passionate throes of his first girlfriend.
Other times Christian could have used some friendly advice include: having a wingman point out that he never smiles in photos and that his apartment could use some decorating.
Christian says he doesn’t “do” relationships, but we all know what that means: he wants one, but he’s scared to ~feel~ things. Christian’s indecisiveness between being cold or loving displays when he breaks his rules and sleeps in the same bed as Anastasia. Aw, cute.
If Christian had a friend, he’d know that expressing his feelings about a situation is always better than breaking fake promises later. Think of: any time you blew off plans with your bestie to go out, and instead elected to sit at home, eat a sleeve of Oreos and watch BoJack Horseman.
The moment I knew for certain that Christian had no friends was when he told Anastasia, “I don’t make love. I fuck. Hard.” 🙄 Anyone with a friend knows that a statement like that gets laughed at for years. This happens again when he says, “Laters, baby.” Ugh, man, get some friends and run these lines by them first, please.
By the end of the movie, I wondered if the fifteen former women of Christian’s died of simple boredom. He doesn’t go out; he doesn’t have friends; he plays sad pianos and flies alone. Christian Grey is super lame and probably uses NDAs to cover it up.
I hope Fifty Shades Darker focuses solely on Christian’s attempts to make friends in an I Love You, Man-esque crossover. He needs them.