Fifty Shades of Grey doesn't seem like the kind of movie that'd be tough to follow — but, if you really invest yourself in everything going on in the film, you wind up with far more questions than answers. The central premise won't befuddle you too much ("Okay, so here they're talking about sex... and now, here, they're having sex... I see...") but totally nonsexual background concepts and the vague activities of supporting characters might raise some eyebrows. Going back through my memory of Fifty Shades, I recalled a handful of questions I found myself pondering during the film, glossed over mysteries, and ostensibly important conflicts that never met with conclusions — satisfying or otherwise — by the end of the movie. I know there are already two sequels in the works, but seriously, this movie owes us some answers!
As such, I head now back through that list of many, many, many nonsexual questions about Fifty Shades of Grey.
(Note: I'm restricting this list to nonsexual questions, specifically because if I included sexual questions, it would look pretty much like this...
1. What is that?
2. What is that?
3. Wait, what?
...and so on. Much like Ana, I live a sheltered life.)
19 Nonsexual Questions About Fifty Shades of Grey
Warning: Spoilers to follow!
1. What does Christian Grey do? We spend a lot of time inside the corrosively bland "Grey House." But we have no idea what this business does. (Theory: it makes other, smaller businesses.)
2. How could an internship at Grey House possibly abet an English lit degree? Christian offers Anastasia Steele, English lit major, an internship at his company-spawning company. A thinly veiled attempt to keep her within his grasp, but what the hell would she even do there?
3. When did Christian Grey have time to learn to fly planes? He's a self-made billionaire at no older than 30 who refuses to be seen socializing outdoors with any of the 15-and-counting women to whom he has devoted himself totally (his words) as a sexual conquistador. You think most of his time would be confined to his office... or, literally, confined.
4. Does Anastasia just up and quit her job at the hardware store when she moves in with Christian? That's a job, man. You're 21, working your way through college, supporting the beginnings of a career with an English lit degree. You need a job!
5. Additionally, doesn't Paul need her out back to help with something? Yes! Paul, her manager at the hardware store, explicitly says, "Anastasia, can you give me a hand out back?" But she never goes out back! She stays inside talking to Christian. What did he need help with? Maybe it was important!
6. How is Christian able to keep finding Anastasia everywhere? This pretty large, twice repeated plot piece is never once addressed. He seems to be able to locate her anywhere in the country (tracking her down in Washington State and Georgia), and she never bothers to ask how... or express any concern over this.
7. How did Anastasia's roommate Kate make valedictorian? The interview questions she devised for her chat with subject Christian indicate a very lapsed understanding of not only professional interview decorum, but also of what it takes to build a good story.
8. What ever happens to José? José, Anastasia's "Duckie" is instituted as a relatively important character towards the beginning of the movie. He's the guy who secretly loves her, who throws caution to the wind to vie for a kiss, who even shows glimmers of distrust of Christian. But he's ushered out of the picture less than a third of the way in! Why introduce the character in the first place?
9. And Anastasia's stepdad? She claims to have such a wonderful relationship with the man — who lives locally, by the way! — but he only shows up onscreen for a matter of seconds, and is never mentioned again.
10. Also, how exactly did Anastasia "save him a seat" at graduation with Kate's parents? Graduation day is hectic; there's no way she rushed up into the crowd and reserved a chair for her stepfather before hurrying back down to her own seating area. But okay — maybe she just meant that she asked Kate's parents to keep a seat open for her dad. But how on Earth is he going to find them? She doesn't write down a seat number, doesn't mention which section they might be sitting in, doesn't even point him in the right direction! Half-assed seat saving, Ana.
11. What about Christian's "Mrs. Robinson"? She's painted to cast such a dramatic shadow, yet we never actually get to meet, or even see a picture of, the older woman who apparently ushered Christian into the world of BDSM when he was a teenager.
12. For that matter, why did Christian react to Anastasia's "Mrs. Robinson" joke as if he had never even thought of it before? It's the obvious joke! He was a teenager, she was a friend of his mother's, and they slept together! How could he have gone 15 years dodging any hint of a The Graduate reference being made to their relationship?!
13. And what's the deal with Christian's chauffeur Taylor? There is no particular quandary here, I just want to know more about Taylor. What's he like? What's he into?
14. Who is Christian's biological dad? Likely just some john who impregnated his crack-addicted prostitute birth mother, but is there a more sordid story here?
15. Why does Christian's sister have a French accent? And a French name? And speak French? Even if she, like Christian, is adopted, we've got to assume that she has been raised in America by English-speaking parents. Why is she, in contrast to this, quite French?
16. Does Christian Grey wear all gray strictly because his name is Grey? Or does he just like gray?
17. On the same token, does Anastasia Steele work in a hardware store because her name is Steele? More of a stretch, still a curiosity.
18. Was the scene in which Christian and Anastasia have a subtext-laden argument about their relationship directly above a clearly visible "DEEP" sign at the end of his parents' pool an intentional act of subliminal messaging? I sure as heck hope so.
19. What on earth does "50 shades of f**ked up" even mean? It is at once the most memorable, and most absurdly senseless, line in the film. And it's wonderful.
Images: Universal Pictures