Fifty Shades of Desperation: An Open Letter to Hollywood

Dear Hollywood,

I’m a twenty-something adult woman. I have the disposable income, time, and ability to go out and see any movie that I want. In fact, I’m part of the group that makes up the largest percentage of moviegoers. So why on earth is the horror-show that is Fifty Shades of Grey the only film I can think of in the past year directed at me?

Now let me be clear – I have no desire to see this movie. I won’t spend the time here detailing exactly why it’s awful. Countless other writers have gone into how it romanticizes abuse, is terribly written, and misrepresents an entire sub-culture. However, despite the fact that the Fifty Shades franchise is widely known to be awful, it’s already shaping up to be a huge hit. And why, you may ask? Surely this is what we want – after all, no one is forcing us to buy tickets!

While that may technically be true, you, Hollywood studios, have a lion’s share of the blame. Yes, the Fifty Shades phenomenon cannot be laid entirely at your feet, but you’ve certainly made a bad situation worse. How? By not giving us any other options.

In 2014, I cannot think of a single film off the top of my head that was made for the adult female demographic. Sure, we could choose from countless YA novel adaptations, a mind-boggling array of both good (but mostly) bad action films, Marvel movies, and a decent handful of indies. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen and enjoyed movies in all of those categories. In fact, I’m practically giddy at the thought of finally seeing the next Star Wars movie this year. But the fact remains that I’ve gone an entire year without even having the option of seeing a movie made with grown women in mind.

Now Fifty Shades of Grey comes stumbling along, ready to take advantage of the vacuum for women that you’ve created. It may feature stilted dialogue and a toxic relationship that makes Nick and Amy Dunne look well-matched, but at least someone is thinking of us, right? Women are already out in droves buying presale tickets – after all, it’s the only game in town. And what a rotten game it is.

So Hollywood, I’m begging you, for the good of everyone, please get back to making “chick flicks”. I want romantic comedies that have actual effort put into them. I’m sure that we can get back to the glory days of Sleepless in Seattle and Must Love Dogs. I want grand sweeping romances – isn’t it about time for another Nicholas Sparks movie anyway? I want drama centered around female friendships and mother-daughter relationships. And don’t try to tell me that female-centric movies don’t sell. They do, and often have much lower production costs that translate into bigger profits. After all, you keep producing big-budget action flicks led by white guys regardless of how many fail. I want you to take the safest “risk” and starting making movies for women again.

But for the love of all things good, I don’t want another Fifty Shades of Grey. Please do your part and give women better options – I promise your wallets will thank you. Hopefully by the already-green lit sequels come out, we won’t have to beg for scraps anymore.

Caitlin Orr

Caitlin Orr

A southern native, I graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in Media Arts. Over the past several years I've had the opportunity to write and shoot a number of short films. My biggest passions are writing and talking about movies with anyone who will sit still long enough to listen - something my family and friends can attest to! Some of my favorite filmmakers include Christopher Nolan, Stanley Kubrick, and Wes Anderson. Now located in Nashville, you can usually find me in my off hours hiking, baking, or watching more movies.

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