When you clicked on this article about cringe-worthy moments in Fifty Shades of Grey, you probably thought to yourself, "All of it." And you're not wrong! But we're going to break down 15 of the most uncomfortable moments in the film anyway.
Before we do, some general things: Dakota Johnson is really awkward. She and Jamie Dornan have no chemistry on screen. In real life, they seem to hate each other. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson quit after the first film, and recently, she revealed that she regrets ever directing it. The movie has been criticized for giving an unhealthy portrayal of BDSM. It got terrible reviews and has a 24% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. According to critics, it's better than the books - at least?
Previously, we looked at the most cringe-worthy moments from the Twilight Movies. And since Fifty Shades of Grey was originally author E.L. James' Twilight fan fiction, the logical next step is to delve into the 15 Most Cringe-Worthy Moments In Fifty Shades of Grey.
It's important to note that this list is based on only the first Fifty Shades of Grey movie - not the first book. Now let's begin.
15 Christian's stalking
This is a classic (but horrible) move in film: treating stalking like it's no big deal, or worse, romantic. Christian shows up out of nowhere all the time. It's part of his creepy persistence. Like the moment when he just happens to be in the neighborhood and decided to shop at the hardware store where Ana works.
Or that time when sends him a message to firmly and unambiguous tells him she doesn't want to see him again in an email, and then he breaks into her house. He comes into her room and says "It's been nice knowing me, has it?" in a very menacing and not charming way. Needless to say, he scares her half to death. It's basically a jump scare for the audience, too. He's directly ignoring her when she says she doesn't want to have a relationship with him.
There's also that time that she mentions that Ana's going to Georgia to see her mom and Christian shows up at the exact same bar. How did he know which bar she's was at?!
14 Christian showers Ana with unwanted gifts
Christian is always giving Ana expensive gifts, even though she says she doesn't want them. Specifically, a laptop, an expensive first edition of Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and a car. Oh, and before he buys her that car, he sells her old VW Beetle - without telling her.
These gifts make Ana uncomfortable because she doesn't want to feel beholden to him, but he won't stop giving her expensive stuff. He's directly ignoring her wishes, again! What a great foundation for a healthy relationship!
When she breaks things off, she says she wants her car back and Christian tells her he already sold it but he'll send her a check. Ana's visibly frustrated: she clearly just wants her old car that she liked back. Now she's going to be car-less until she picks out a new one.
13 Drunk Ana
Ana gets drunk and makes a fool of herself in front of Christian when he comes to "save" (stalk) her. By the way, he somehow found out which bar she was at without her telling him any information. Seriously, how does he always know where she is? Is he tracking her phone? Having her followed? You in danger, girl!
It all begins when Ana drunk dials Christian on the bathroom line and he badgers her until she admits she's drunk. Possibly the funniest part is when she turns to the stranger next to him and goes, "I told him, right?"
The embarrassment doesn't stop there. The next morning, she wakes up in Christian's hotel room. When she asks where her clothes are, he bluntly tells her that they were covered in vomit and he had to throw them away.
12 The interview scene
First of all, it's wildly unprofessional for a journalist to ask their non-journalist friend to fill in for them if they have the flu and can't do an interview. Ask a coworker, reschedule the interview, do it over the phone instead - or do literally anything else besides this.
This scene is awkward from the start: Ana literally takes her first step into the room and trips. Her clothes are ill-fitting. She's clearly out of her element conducting an interview.
At one point, Ana's reading the questions that her friend Kate wrote, and one of them is "Are you gay?" Hmm, Kate, that was very blunt. Christian answers that he is not gay, but in a way that says "I am not gay and I would like you in particular to know that because I want to sleep with you." The interview gets completely derailed when he starts asking questions about Ana, like this is a first date and not an interview.
11 The graduation scene
Christian is the speaker at Anastasia's graduation, and when her name is called, she's supposed to shake the university president's hand and then Christian's.
But when she and Christian shake hands, he doesn't let go. Instead, he tries to have a prolonged conversation with her in which he hounds her to sign the contract. This is taking place on stage where everyone can see them. So now everyone including the president of her university knows that they're banging each other.
Finally, she escapes Christian's clutches and he is taken aback that the next graduate standing in front of him waiting to shake his hand. He definitely ruined this poor random girl's college graduation. He probably won't be invited back to this university.
And for a high-powered businessman, Christian's behavior is always pretty unprofessional.
10 Ana's awkward dancing
Christian and Ana are slow dancing to Frank Sinatra. Both of them are pretty good at it. Seems like a sweet scene. Nothing could possibly be cringe-worthy here, right? Wrong. Christian spins Ana and she proceeds to break out into some awkward solo dancing. It's... terrible.
There's some carefree spinning, the kind that you would do in the rain with reckless abandon. But with her, it's not cute; it's just awkward. Then there's some disco pointing, but in every direction. And in a really weird sound design choice, you can hear her feet jumping all over the floor over the music.
This isn't the only time Ana dances awkwardly. The morning after they have sex, Ana is shaking her butt to some music while making pancakes while Christian watches her, bemused.
9 Ana giggles during the contract scene but Christian is dead serious
When Christian and Ana have a business meeting to go over the contract, she reads off a sentence she wants to discuss: "The submissive shall submit to any sexual activity demanded by the dominant and shall do so without hesitation or argument." Then she giggles. But Christian is dead serious.
And then Ana doesn't even say anything back! She moves on to the next clause. Like, girl, ask the question you were going to ask. It's pretty important. Then she asks "What are butt plugs?"
First of all, that question could easily be answered with a Google search. Second of all, weren't you supposed to research the contract? Also, the moment she asks that, two employees come in and bring them glasses of wine and sushi without even questioning why they're having a business meeting with mood lighting.
8 Everything about José
José is Ana's friend that she views as platonic but who is clearly trying to get in her pants.
Fifty Shades of Grey is based on Twilight fan fiction, and José is the equivalent of Twilight's Jacob. But unlike Jacob, he's not dramatically interesting.
Let's talk about the most messed up thing José does in the movie: when he tries to kiss Ana when she's drunk and also doesn't want to kiss him. She's drunk, and he follows her out of the bar and goes "I don't know when I'll have the courage to do this" and she says "no" multiples times and then tries to kiss her anyway. That's not consensual. Then Christian shows up and shoves him away.
José thinks he’s entitled to something from Ana because they're friends and he has unrequited feelings for her. No. That's not how life works.
7 Every time Christian lectures Ana about drinking
Christian gets mad at Ana whenever she has more than one drink.
This is a thing that he doesn't want her to do as his submissive. It's in the contract. Except: they didn't sign the contract yet so he can't police her drinking! There's also a degree of holier-than-thou judgement going on here that's separate from the contract.
When Ana gets drunk at the bar and he shows up to take her home, Christian acts like she committed a mortal sin. When he stalks her in Georgia and shows up at the bar she's at with her mom, he berates her for drinking.
What is wrong with him? Is he her mom? No, because her mom is right there, drinking with her. Can't he let Ana live?
6 Ana's sex giggling
Ana giggles a lot. But when she giggles during one of the sex scenes, it's extra cringe-worthy.
Said giggling takes pace during the ice cube sex scene. You know, the one that takes place after Christian breaks into her apartment? She laughs nervously in response to his creepy "It's been nice knowing me, has it?" line. Nothing to set the mood like giggling.
Literally five seconds later he starts kissing her. Then she giggles again while he's tying her up, but he's still dead serious. It's really awkward. You can tell that he's thinking something along the lines of "Stop laughing, I really like tying women up and that's part of BDSM and it's no laughing matter." You feel like he wants to yell at her.
5 Christian hints to Ana about the BDSM by buying rope at her hardware store
Christian shows up at the hardware store where Ana works and buys a series of items which, when purchased together, are a pretty big hint that he's into BDSM.
He makes Ana flustered as she takes him around the store helping him find cable ties, masking tape, and rope. "Are you redecorating?" she asks. "No," he says bluntly. You’d think that he would be direct about his interest in BDSM, like he is in all other matters. But no, he decides to hint about all of this by buying rope in a sexy fashion.
The scene is filled with several hinting exchanges. There's the part when Ana recommends coveralls to protect his clothes. "I could just take all my clothes off," he coyly replies. Then there's this exchange, which has a lot to unpack:
Ana: Rope, tape, cable ties. You're the complete serial killer.
Christian: Not today.
Not today? But other days?! All we're saying is that Christian has definitely killed people before.
4 Ana doing research on BDSM
Christian sends Ana a brand-new laptop (one of his unwanted gifts) and tells her to do research on BDSM to help her go through the contract. So, while sitting on her bed, she image-searches the word "submissive." Please note that she looks around anxiously before hitting enter. Maybe wait until no one's home to do this if you're worried about privacy? Anyway, she looks at the first two images, freaks out and slams the laptop shut. Girl, what did you expect when you searched "submissive"?
Ana decides that she can't do this and emails Christian saying "It was nice knowing you." Then we see Christian read the email on his phone and looks up with the eyes of a cheetah hunting its prey.
3 Everything about Paul
All the men in Ana's life, including and especially Christian, are creepers. Paul, Ana's co-worker at the hardware store, is no exception. She's not interested in him, and he definitely wants to bang her.
As she's ringing up Christian and having a conversation, he comes up behind her and weirdly squeezes her shoulders. Is this workplace sexual harassment? Then he asks, "Do you want me to bag for you?" which she declines, since this isn't a grocery store during the evening rush and she can clearly handle putting four items in a bag.
Paul looks at Christian threateningly. Christian stares right back. They're having a creep-off, but we all know who wins: Christian Grey. When Paul finally takes his leave, Ana looks after him in a way that says she's sick of him.
2 That quote from Tess of the d’Urbervilles
Christian gives Ana a first edition of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d’Urbervilles after she says the 19th century author is her favorite. He also includes a note with an abridged quotation from the novel: "Why didn't you tell me there was danger? Why didn't you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against because they read novels that tell them of these tricks." At first glance, this quote seems sexy. But in the context of the book, it's about rape.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles is the story of Tess, who is raped by the heinous Alec. She tells her mother what happened, and her mother blames Tess; the victim. That's when Tess says the above words. In the movie, Christian writes this quote on a card for the woman he's trying to seduce. This is beyond disturbing.
As an English Lit major, Anastasia is very familiar with the book. She must know what this quote is about. How does she not immediately get a restraining order against him?
1 They never actually sign the contract
That's right, Christian and Ana never actually sign the contract - even though that's the basis of the movie.
Christian's attitude toward his contract is inconsistent. The first time it comes up, he tells Ana he won't touch her before she gives her written consent. Then basically one second later he says "F--- the paperwork" and kisses her in an elevator with her hands pinned up against the wall. Then for the rest of the movie he relentlessly hounds her about signing it.
The BDSM contract is pretty important. When two people list what both of them are comfortable doing before entering into a BDSM relationship, it ensures that both of them feel safe and comfortable with what they're doing. And because Christian and Ana don't sign it, feelings get hurt. Ana feels violated at the end of the movie and rushes out of Christian's apartment, ending their relationship.
What other cringe-worthy moments did we miss in Fifty Shades of Grey? Let us know in the comments!