Since first landing in bookstores back in 2011, E.L. James’s Fifty Shades of Grey has courted controversy—with sharp criticism and a sort of fanatical adoration vying for readers’ attention—and the response to the film adaptation has been no different. Everyone seems to have an opinion, but it’s Michelle Lewsen of They Call Me Mummy who has captured our attention with her letter to her kids about the movie.
Though Lewsen had reservations about watching the film, she gave in and went to see it with her friends, and she was so struck by the representation of romance between lead characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele that she felt compelled to write the letter. As she explains to her kids: “I have to accept the hard fact that your innocent eyes and your uncorrupted minds are going to see this drivel sooner or later.”
Lewsen writes that this is not a love story, and it’s not romance “with a harmless bit of naughtiness sprinkled on top.” Indeed, she doesn’t pull her punches in explaining this this is an unhealthy relationship, noting that Grey’s actions span manipulation, control, abuse, stalking and rape.
On a more positive note, the letter wraps up with Lewsen describing what a healthy, loving relationship looks like, in hopes that her kids will listen to this lesson from their mom.
Amidst high-profile sexual assault allegations that have sparked an ongoing discussion about assault, abuse and harassment, Lewsen’s letter is a powerful response that’s got us thinking about the troubling messages in this film.
Read Michelle Lewsen’s A Letter to My Children About Fifty Shades of Grey.