An extended and revised version of this article appears on the Christian Today website – here – http://www.christiantoday.com/article/fifty.shades.and.trash.two.films.but.only.one.worth.seeing/48240.htm
This week you have the opportunity of seeing both the best and the worst of humanity in your local cinema. The worst is seen in the much hyped up film version of 50 Shades of Grey. I am going to review it without having to see it because I just don’t buy the ‘unless you have seen it yourself you cannot comment on it’. It’s an illogical position. It IS usually better to have seen something you comment on. But if you know what the film is about and what its values are, then there is no need. I have not seen Dachau, does that mean that I have no right to comment on how dreadful the holocaust was?
As regards 50 shades, of course I cannot comment on the cinematography, acting etc (although the reviews already have rubbished the film) but I can comment on a film of a book which delights in sexual pornography and violence against women. The basic ‘plot’ is that a filthy rich billionaire abuses and misuses a much younger and poorer woman. The sub plot for those men who are inclined that way is that women are really looking forward to being used and abused. You don’t need to see the film to know that it is evil. Why would any human being, never mind any Christian, pay money to go and watch such trash?
Speaking of which there is a much better film called Trash.
We saw this Brazilian film last week and it is stunning. THe cinematography, the acting, the plot and the message are superb. It too is a film about pornography – but the pornography of poverty. It too is a story about the politics of corruption, abuse and the manipulation of power. The big difference (apart I suspect from the actual quality of the films) is that whereas 50 Shades glorifies violence and the abuse of power, Trash condemns it.
There is of course a clear link between the two subjects. The desacralising of sex leads to the degrading of humanity which in turn leads to more opportunities for the rich and powerful to abuse the poor, whether sexually or in other ways. As Christians we need to lift up our voices and declare that this poverty, sexual abuse and corruption is a gross sin and injustice. 50 Shades is not an opportunity for Christians to show how cool we can be about sex and how we can show a positive attitude towards sex (which we should). We should not be dancing to the devils agenda, but rather fighting against the darkness. Human beings are not ‘trash’ to be used and abused according to the whims of the powerful. We are all, from the richest to the poorest, fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. The Good News is that, tainted though that image is, God sent his son to redeem us and take us from the trash pit, to the glories of being sons and daughters of the King. 50 Shades wallows in the trash of fallen humanity. Trash offers us some hope of a way out. Christ provides that hope.
PS – As I posted this I knew that the usual atheist trolls who stalk me would jump in but even I did not anticipate the banality of the arguments used to defend sexual violence and exploitation. Apparently because millions of people have read and enjoyed the book it must be good and therefore to criticise it is wrong…to which the only answer is millions of people enjoy racist and violent videos..so that makes it ok? Is that really the level we have descended to?