I realize that I’m giving this movie more publicity by writing this, but I hope to be able to discourage your curiosity to see it. Having read several articles about this movie, I feel more and more disgusted by the messages contained. In a nutshell, it normalizes emotionally abusing women and sexually exploiting them. It even seems to glorify such behaviour as a romantic fantasy.
As a mental health counselor, I’ve seen my fair share of abusive relationships. They crush self-esteem, break hearts, tears one’s sense of dignity, etc. And none of the stories I’ve heard comes even close to the atrocities in this book/movie.
Those of you who’ve been following my blog since the beginning are well aware of my view on bullying (see my early posts). This movie is about a narcissist and psychopath who victimizes an innocent young woman. He seduces her in whatever way he can, then responds to her affection with violence and abuse. He deals psychological blows that leave her paralyzed with confusion and shock, makes her believe that she owes him respect or that she’s responsible for his issues, puts her in a state of constant vigilance against his inconsistent affection/abuse pattern, intimidates her into doing what he wants, and does what he can to cut her off from all support that could potentially lead her to free herself from his abuse.
One of the main questions circulating is why anyone would actually enjoy that as entertainment. I believe there’s some curiosity involved, maybe some secret hope that there are some hot sex scenes. Whatever the reason, bullying doesn’t affect victims only. It also affects bystanders. Witnessing abuse can be extremely traumatizing. Even the actors’ account of what it was like to be part of the production call the entire shooting of the movie a “nightmare”. They describe the experience with words like “shell-shock” and “unclean”. They had to try to get into the mind of their character in order to play their role and they were not left unscathed.
What does the movie/book’s popularity say about the mental health of all those who apparently enjoy it or the one that wrote it? That’s something I’d like to know.
So rather than traumatizing yourselves this Valentine’s Day by seeing this abominable excuse for a love story, remember to cherish your significant other in simple and heart-felt ways. You don’t need to see or have crazy sexual experiences to feel loved. Love is, simply put, the unconditional gift of self to the other as Our Lord has love us (cf. Jn 13:34). Spend quality time together, do something sweet for each other, make the other feel special and appreciated. There are hundreds of ways to communicate our love for each other and they don’t have to be eccentric.
Be a light to your world, especially to your loved one!