It exceeded expectations opening weekend, at least in terms of the amount of money it grossed. Fifty Shades of Grey, the pornographic delusion, more politely referred to as an “erotic romance,” from Universal and Focus Features brought in $158 million internationally and an estimated $81.7 million at the domestic box office over Valentine’s Day weekend. Its domestic earnings rank “second all-time in the month of February behind The Passion of the Christ, …” according to Box Office Mojo. Forty-two percent of the opening weekend viewing audience was under 25 years old.
Although the film’s earnings dropped considerably over its second weekend in theaters, it was still number one at the box office and has grossed about $130 million domestically and close to $300 million internationally.
As we head into its third consecutive weekend on the big screen, it will be interesting to see how Fifty Shades of Grey performs.
Regardless, droves of people have watched a 100-minute film containing roughly 20 minutes of sex scenes with graphic BDSM, and they supposedly did it all in the name of love and romance.
I have not seen the movie. I have not read the trilogy by E.L. James on which the film was based. I will not do either, but I have thought a lot about both. And I have been incredibly burdened for the hearts of the people behind the story, involved in the telling of it, and influenced by its message.
I cannot help but wonder about James and what prompted her to write such a twisted story of love. My heart aches for hers – not because I’m any better than she, but because I long for her to know the real love of Christ.
My heart broke when I read that actor Jamie Dornan, who plays the lead male character Christian Grey, went to a sex dungeon to see what he was expected to do to his female costar Dakota Johnson, who plays the role of Ana Steele. My heart sank even more when he admitted to how filthy he felt after leaving the dungeon and returning to his real-life wife and newborn baby. “I had a long shower before touching either of them,” he told a British magazine.
And I cannot help but think about his wife and what she was feeling.
Dornan, who has played other dark roles including serial killers, also confessed to other media outlets how playing the role of Grey was a “massive challenge” and how it was for the best that his deceased mother did not have to see the film.
Steele, daughter or Hollywood actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, expressed the same concern over her parents seeing Fifty Shades of Grey. In fact, she went as far as to tell Glamour magazine that there is a part of her that does not want anyone to see the movie.
Yet, millions did, and unfortunately many more will. But why?
In an effort to answer this question for myself, I have read a lot of good, theologically driven articles about Fifty Shades of Grey. But when it comes to answering the question of why, Kirsten Anderson, a D.C. correspondent for LifeSiteNews.com, hits the nail on the head in her blog post titled “The real reason 50 Shades is so wildly popular (HINT: It’s not the sex).”
Her post is worth the read in it’s entirety, and I encourage you to read it. It really made me think.
In a nutshell, Anderson explains that the reason so many people are drawn to the underlying message of Fifty Shades is because the books and the film tell a common story to which most, if not all, humans relate. It’s a story about an unworthy person’s quest for unconditional love and redemption, and she will do whatever it takes to get it.
Think about it. Isn’t that the story of all of our lives? We are all unworthy of love, yet we desire a love that saves us, chooses us, wants us, and even adores us, and we may even give up our own lives to experience such love.
The problem is we search for it in all the wrong places. We look for it in places and people, even in stories and movies, that offer a convoluted and counterfeit love.
It makes me think of these lyrics from an old song made popular in 1980 by country music singer Johnny Lee.
I was lookin' for love in all the wrong places
Lookin' for love in too many faces
Searchin' their eyes, lookin' for traces
Of what I'm dreamin' of
Hopin' to find a friend and a lover
I'll bless the day I discover,
Another heart- lookin' for love.
There is a Heart out there looking for love, longing to be loved and in pursuit of our love. Not because He needs it but because He wants it. Not because He requires it but because He rejoices in it (Zephaniah 3:17).
When we do experience this Divine love, many of our own desires become reciprocal in nature. Our quest for affection leads us to the Object of our affection, the One we want, adore and treasure.
And that type of love is found only in Christ.
Over the years, through the biblical teachings of CCEF, a gospel-driven and Christ-centered counseling ministry, I have come to realize that everything is a heart issue – everything, even the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey.
So I challenge you to look at this film in such way that you get to the heart of the matter. What does the craze over a film like this reveal about the heart? About the hearts of those involved in it and about the hearts of those who watch it? More importantly, what does your response to Fifty Shades of Grey and the people associated with it say about the condition of your heart? … And what does it say about mine?