Even if you didn't spend your weekend shelling out the money required for an overly expensive movie ticket to see Fifty Shades of Grey, then you've certainly looked up the reviews or checked out social media to see what people are saying about the film. On the whole, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie was a vast improvement over the Fifty Shades of Grey book — especially since we didn't have to hear about Ana's inner goddess or hear Ana say "holy cow" at the strangest times. However, many people who read the book wouldn't qualify it as an overly feminist work of literature, which is why it's a pleasant surprise that the film empowered Ana to such a point that she was the most likable part of the movie.
Anyone expecting naïve, delicate flower Ana Steele only got her for about ten minutes of film time, during which she interviewed Christian Grey on behalf of her sick roommate and then headed on home. From that moment forward, Christian Grey might have been the sexual, sensual powerhouse of masculinity, but he was basically a puppy barely in control of his own non-relationship as soon as Ana got her hands (and mouth and other body parts) on him. In fact, there are seven moments from Fifty Shades of Grey that were surprisingly feminist — and that's something I never thought I'd say.
1. When Ana Arranges A Contract Business Meeting
In what is perhaps one of the best done sequences in the film, Ana demands a business meeting with Christian to go over the terms of the contract and, though he does his best to unnerve her, it's clear from the onset that she's the one calling her shots here. When Christian rests a hand on the small of her back to lead her into the conference room, Ana removes his hand and reminds him that this is a business meeting. Even better, at the conclusion of the meeting when Christian states his desire to have her right there on the table, Ana allows him to recount exactly what he wishes to do to her... and then tells him goodbye. Ana — 1. Christian — 0.
2. When Ana Makes Sure She Knows What She's Getting Into
Throughout the film, Christian puts a lot of pressure on Ana to come around to his way of thinking, accept his lifestyle, and sign his contract. He tries to talk her into it, he tries to show her what things could be like for them if she did so, and he even tries giving in to a few of her demands for romantic dates and breathless moments. However, Ana refuses to put her name on that piece of paper until she's absolutely clear on what she's getting into — in fact, she stalls to the point that it becomes clear she's hoping to change Christian's mind rather than harboring any delusions that he will change hers. In that way, Ana keeps Christian guessing through the entire film and it's great to watch.
3. When Christian Calls Himself Ana's Boyfriend
Christian introduced himself to Ana's father as her boyfriend and even allowed a picture of the two of them to be taken at her graduation ceremony. Ana is the first submissive he's ever been seen with in public — considering budding journalist Kate had "are you gay" as one of her interview questions based on his refusal to be photographed with any women — and that subtle indication that he's in this for the long haul whether he'll admit it or not says a lot about the effect that Ana is having on him. Of course, the moment is ruined later, but that small moment was a victory for Miss Steele.
4. Ana's Friendship With Her Roommate Kate
Sadly, there wasn't a lot of female presence in Fifty Shades of Grey. There was Christian's mother, Ana's mother, Christian's sister, and then there was Ana and Kate. Oh, and Christian's secretary. That's about it. However, Ana's most important relationship in the film, aside from her growing relationship with Christian, is her friendship with Kate. (Incidentally, it's what led her to meet Christian to begin with.) Even better, Fifty Shades actually passes the Bechdel test in spades. Kate and Ana discuss Christian more or less only once; after that, Ana doesn't want to talk about Christian. She mostly just wants to talk.
5. When Ana Never Stops Pushing
Christian touts his self-control like it's his greatest accomplishment aside from his huge company, but he also agonizes over Ana's ability to shatter it in an instant. However, it's far from the usual passive heroine sending active male into emotional hysterics that we're used to from many love stories. Ana is always asking Christian why he is the way that he is, why he imposes such strict boundaries on himself, why he won't let her in — she never stops asking him straight up until the very end of their relationship. Christian doesn't change because of his love for Ana. Christian changes because Ana keeps questioning things he hasn't thought to question in too long.
6. When Ana Calls Him On His Crap
And, to be honest, it's quite a lot of crap. Not only does Christian keep replacing her things without asking her (or telling her until it's done), but he also insists that Ana sleep in a different bed in a different room than he does and insists that Ana can't touch him at all. If you're raising your eyebrows in confusion, you are not alone. Dakota Johnson played Ana's reactions to these strict rules perfectly; her face showed her bewilderment, her amusement, and her outright frustration with Christian at various points. Did she stand strong against his BS every second of the film? No. But she stood up for herself far more than many entering the theater would expect. Even while drunkdialing Christian, Ana called him out for his flip-flopping behavior by mocking him with: "'Get away from me, Ana! No, come here, come here. GET AWAY! COME BACK COME BACK.'" Best.
7. When Ana Tells Christian To Get Away From Her
And, of course, the greatest part of the film — at least as far as feminism is concerned. The movie ends with Ana telling Christian to take a hike. After questioning why he wants to "punish" her so badly, Ana orders him to take her to the Red Room and show her exactly what he's been begging to do to her through the entire film: whip her. Not only does she not care for it, she calls Christian out, not on his tastes, but on his reasoning for his tastes. Even better, when she goes to leave and he tries to follow her, Ana tells him to back off — and he does, immediately, as if her very words glued him in place. Watching Ana take her life back from a man she did not see as treating her right and with whom she did not see a future was the greatest and most feminist part of the film by far.
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