Movies You Might Prefer to Too Many Shades of Christian Grey

There is plenty of red in the Play Room, but no Carnivale figures like this or evil clowns, but there could easily be one or two. Regardless, I would wear this outfit.
There is plenty of red in the Play Room, but no Carnivale figures like this or evil clowns, but there could easily be one or two. Regardless, I would wear this outfit. | Source

Changes from Grey to Red

I reviewed 50 Shades for a family oriented parental guidance site, providing only the objective data - how many curses words, intimate scenes, instances of violence, substances, and a few other categories.

Meanwhile, I noticed that I liked the first hour of the two-hour event and felt it was a very good comedy. In fact, I want to see these two actors, Dakota Johnson and the grey-clad Jaimie Dornan, in a different type of film in the future. Their timing in the comedic parts in 50 was very good.

The second hour was not as detailed as the book trilogy (of which I have read long excerpts in reviews and script analyses). I choose not to read the books, for lack of interest.

On screen, the interaction in the Red Room/Play Room is watered down from the reality of such dungeons and their masters and mistresses, but still somewhat disturbing.

As some writers have noted, art is made to disturb viewers - into thinking.

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Audience Disturbances

Much more than the second hour of the film, I found a small sector of the audience disturbing during and after the movie.

Four small groups of ladies in their 30s and 40s, not all of them drinking from concoctions from the tavern on site, hooted and screamed with laughter at the physically harsh scenes and sat quietly during the comedic scenes. After the film showing, one group hooted and laughed in the lobby, also acting out a few parts that had been physically harsh. Perhaps they considered the second hour ludicrously incorrect when compared with reality. I don't know.

Red Rooms

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Ana received a red car as a gift in 50 Shades of Grey. This is The Red Room of the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset UK.The White House Red Room during the Clinton Administration.Theodore Roosevelt's Red RoomPresident Barack Obama's Red Room
Ana received a red car as a gift in 50 Shades of Grey. This is The Red Room of the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset UK.
Ana received a red car as a gift in 50 Shades of Grey. This is The Red Room of the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset UK. | Source
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The White House Red Room during the Clinton Administration.
The White House Red Room during the Clinton Administration. | Source
Theodore Roosevelt's Red Room
Theodore Roosevelt's Red Room | Source
President Barack Obama's Red Room
President Barack Obama's Red Room | Source

Two Alternative Romances

The character Christian Grey says, "I don't do romance." However, it looks like he does do romance, at least a little. Regardless, two additional films released in early 2015 strongly include romance and love and may be more to your liking.

A Romance in Prague, Then and Now

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The Cast

Kris Wu is Peng Zeyang, a twentysomething musician in Prague who meets summer student Jin Tian (Wang Likun). Xu Jinglei plays Chen Lanxin. Jin Tians's grandmother (great aunt) and Gordon Alexander plays Josef Novak, the doctor and concentration camp survivor in Prague.

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Somewhere Only We Know

This first alternative romance is from China Lion and filmed in Prague in Chinese with English subtitles.

The plot weaves together the love stories of a Chinese woman who escapes the embattlement of WWII in her own country by moving to Prague and working for a physician with a modern romance -- The other story is her granddaughter's. Studying abroad in Prague for a summer, the student traces her Grandmother Chen's life history in that city. After an inauspicious meeting with a young Chinese man, she gets to know him and his family as he helps her track down her grandmother's old fiancé from the war.

Set to return to China together during the war, Chen and the doctor must leave their train tickets unused.

Having himself survived a concentration camp, the doctor's wife and young daughter did not, and he spends tearful hours staring at their pictures in his clinic. However, we hear many true stories today of the war dead suddenly appearing after long stays in foreign hospitals and this includes those of WWII and Vietnam. Spouses often feel they cannot abandon these suddenly reappeared yet invalided partners, and hearts are broken.

Decades forward to the future and missing the never-married Chen among the living by just weeks, the doctor meets the granddaughter and is delighted. He had sat by his and Chen's favorite statue for a time each day for 45 years, hoping for a glimpse of his true love.

Josef recognizes Chen's granddaughter immediately and imagines he is seeing Chen one last time in a lovely montage on screen.

Meanwhile, Chen's male friend decides that he cannot raise his small daughter in Prague and ask Jin Tian to stay there with him. He breaks off their relationship, but there is a chance that he might see her again. Perhaps he can try the statue in Prague.

Somewhere Only We Know

My rating for the two alternative romances.

4 stars for "Somewhere" and "Old Fashioned"

I find it impossible to not believe that, deep down, we don't want to celebrate something more than Fifty Shades.

— Rik Swartzwelder, in the Hollywood Reporter, 11/13/14

Old Fashioned Cast

Elizabeth Roberts is Amber, a woman that moves every time her money jar is full. Rik Swartzwelder is Clay, a man who gave up fraternity life and racy film making when his girlfriend married someone else. Rik also wrote and directed the two-hour film. It is never boring and offers real conflicts.

You will also enjoy the energy of LeJon Woods as David, Joseph Bonamico as George, and Dorothy Silver as Aunt Zella.

Old Fashioned

This film had the biggest opening weekend ever for any faith-based film: $1.3 million.

Men and Women Stand Against Abuse in "Old Fashioned"

Lucky Chucky, the radio talk show host and shock jock, broadcasts, "Women are just like men" - all that either gender thinks of is impressing his or her dates with conquest after conquest and the stories to follow.

Upon Chucky's (played by Tyler Hollinger) statement, several women call into the station and scream at him, but he enjoys it. From 50 Shades' opening weekend domestic box office take of $81.7 million, a record for President's Day Weekend, we might agree with Chucky.

Unfortunately, one conquest in this story led to a woman's broken arm. The message is that abuse should not be accepted from anyone.

Chucky broadcasts his misogynistic shtick for provocation and money in this film called Old Fashioned. You might think the name advocates for a style of ancient and restrained romance, but Old Fashioned is also the name of an antique shop in Tuscarawus County, Ohio, in and near New Philadelphia.

Clay, owner does, believed in courting instead of dating, because of his years of wild relations with the opposite sex ending in tears and disaster for several people. He felt he had to start over.

Clay picked up a Bible and decided for himself what was right and wrong about modern dating, causing townspeople to call him "hermit." He did not attend church, however, because he felt it was full of hypocrites.

The Welcome sign on the top of the building is clearly seen in the film.
The Welcome sign on the top of the building is clearly seen in the film. | Source

Fifty Shades is short-term titillation and Old Fashioned offers a long-term alternative. Audiences want to hear that the best of the past is still possible—that a relationship can be the safe room.

— Producer Nathan Nazario in the Hollywood Reporter, 11/13/14

Leather Whip or Broken Arm

Meanwhile, Amber, a woman of several failed relationships and a broken arm drives into town and rents the apartment over the shop. Soon, she demands to know why Clay does not believe in dating.

This movie offers conflict, but not the kind at the end of a heavy leather whip or a mahogany spanking board.

Clay has locked himself away in his shop for years, while Amber has moved from town to town whenever her gallon sized money jar is filled. It seems that both are running from past heartache and new commitment.

Worth the price of admission are two scenes in the town's grocery store. They are priceless. One is a faux date that Clay tries to escape and the second is candlelit and preceded by a ride in a restored classic limousine. You will not believe your eyes when you see the interior of the grocery store -- It is as lavish as Christian Grey's apartment.

Old fashioned looks at other relationships as well: a long marriage because a teen boy at homecoming could not break up with a girl, a live-in arrangement with a child, and a widow who talks to the picture of her deceased husband.

Both of these films, Somewhere Only We Know and Old Fashioned are uplifting, resolve conflicts, and are good choices for positive emotional outlet in lieu of bondage, broken hearts, and empty martini glasses at the theater.

Both of these films are uplifting, resolve conflicts, and are good choices for positive emotional outlet in lieu of bondage, broken hearts, and empty martini glasses at the theater.

Old Fashioned

© 2015 Patty Inglish

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Comments 9 comments

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 19 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Patty. I have not seen the three movies that you highlight here in this article. It is not likely that I will see 50 Shades of Grey.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 19 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I appreciate your candid and insightful views of the controversial 50 Shades. I haven't read the book or seen the movie. I think I'll read the book first. Gotta find out how and why it's so hot. Right?


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 19 months ago from North America Author

mcbirdbks -- I would not have seen 50 on my own, either.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 19 months ago from North America Author

@rebeccamealey - I think the books are too obscene and style/vocabulary pedestrian, after seeing a few more excerpts. Your library probably has several copies, but I don't recommend spending money on them. Both the books and movies are making a lot of money, though.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 19 months ago from Orlando Florida

I totally don't get the whole "50 shades" thing. I think the attraction is in the word "billionaire." I read a few romance novels as research to see if I wanted to write romance and I noticed the man is always a billionaire.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 19 months ago from North America Author

@CatheringGiordano - I think you're right. The piles of cash seem to be hypnotic.


Sia184 profile image

Sia184 19 months ago from United Kingdom

I personally feel that 50 shades of grey is overrated and badly written, however it seems to be popular with today's generation.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 19 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Haven't seen Shades of Grey and have no desire to spend money on the film or the book. I was actually turned off by the overwhelming response to the book and the amount of attention it received. From what I read, it highlights deviation and abuse, something we could use in a smaller doses.

The two contrasting films you've recapped seem to be less graphic, yet, the abuse theme prevails. I wonder what's up with that. Not my cup of tea.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 19 months ago from North America Author

@PegCole17 - I think we see too many books, including a lot of self published books, movies, and songs about abuse. If parents and schools could teach young people to recognize early signs of abuse of all sorts, to resist them, and to report abuse to adults, including the legal system, who would actually listen, we might get away from so much expression of it in the media.

The "abuse" genre in literature and music is taking too firm a hold on our society. Some people blame rap music for it, but too many people are paying to see and hear this material, no matter from where it comes. Thanks for you comments and stand against this type of entertainment. It's getting to be like the crowds that watched people thrown to the lions in Rome.

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