Our author has several issues with Netflix’s “365 Days”. They list it as an erotic drama, but it’s more of a fiasco, really. Read her opinion here.
I watched 365 days with my best friend a few days ago and I have questions. And notes. And some serious concerns. And I feel like I also have a right to sue the production company and charge my therapy bill to them. I would however like to give a shoutout to the review site rotten tomatoes and the user Nate Z for helping me sort through my thoughts after the catastrophe that was this badly redone, horribly acted, we don’t-have-enough-creativity-to-come-up-with-a-plot-so-we-put-3-makeover-montages-in-this, polish version of Fifty Shades of Grey that Netflix actually dares to categorize as a drama.
I do have a serious problem with the fact that Netflix markets this movie as a drama. My first being that several people at Netflix watched this movie and thought to themselves: “Well yes, of the hundreds of movies we could buy that are in the genre erotic, this….this one right here is the one we would like to spend our money on”. The second being that by any definition that I have ever heard, read, or learned a drama actually has to have a plot. And as my best friend put it so kindly: “Any, and I mean any, porn I have ever seen has better actors and storyline than whatever this abomination is supposed to be. This movie is basically just shopping, sex, sex while shopping, parties, big houses and yachts and, surprise, sex at big houses and on yachts”.
The big keyword in this movie is consent. Or rather a lack thereof. Even after overlooking the fact that the male lead Massimo abducted his love interest Laura, it was still very prominent that there was not once a scene in this movie where he asked for consent before engaging in any sexual activity. This made for fun scenes like Massimo orally raping a stewardess at his flight while she has actual tears in her eyes.
When Laura demands to know why she was taken hostage, he explains to her that she was the last thing he saw right before his father was killed and that he would never do anything against her will. Just to give you a time frame here: This was after drugging her to bring her to his mansion, but before telling her that he wouldn’t let her go for the next 365 days to “give her a chance to fall in love with him” and then pushing her in a chair and sitting on her because she – shocker – wanted to leave.
The next 30 minutes of the movie is basically just filled with similar events including, but not limited to: kissing her without her consent, strapping her to an airplane seat to take her to Rome without her consent and fingering her in a plane full of strangers without her consent.
All of this for some reason (my money is on Stockholm Syndrome, but what do I know) builds up to my personal highlight: She decides that she wants to see him and goes over to his room with nothing on but a bathrobe. After flirting for a bit, he takes off his towel (which conveniently was the only thing he was wearing) and tells her to “take it” referring to his penis. When she refuses and tries to leave, he chains her up to his bed, leaving her breasts exposed, and makes her watch him get a blowjob by a prostitute. While he watches her. This scene lasts for 4 minutes. And that is the end of that plotline. Literally.
Now if this movie was a thriller or a horror movie, I would understand why these scenes were put in there. But considering how we are supposed to root for Massimo and Laura to end up together, I don’t see how him sexually assaulting her and a stewardess is helping that. The way their entire relationship is portrayed is a direct reflection of what the screen writers think a “desirable” relationship is supposed to look like. I find this highly concerning, especially because a lot of young people are watching this and learn that this is what a healthy relationship looks like. Similarly to Fifty Shades of Grey, the dominant and submissive behavior that is typical for BDSM is transferred into the way these characters interact with each other outside of their sex life. Laura goes from being a successful hotel manager who for some reason (that is never explained in the movie) is dating an unattractive guy, that ignores her and cheats on her, to dating an okay-looking guy, that decides everything for her and that in the best case scenario screams at her whenever she dares to disobey, and in the worst case scenario uses force in varying ways to make her comply.
Ignoring all the awful sex scenes and makeover montages to cover up the awful sex scenes and the very questionable message, there are still two big issues. The first being that I just didn’t care what happened to these characters because they had no personality apart from being attractive. This is honestly impressive, considering that Massimo is the heir of a mafia empire and it was almost impossible to make him this blank. Does he hate that he grew up in such a cruel world? Or does he enjoy the power and money? Is there something in him that is trying to escape his destiny? Or is he trying to build an even bigger empire? Laura on the other hand seems to have several personalities, she is sometimes portrayed as strongminded, as intelligent, as curious only to switch to being timid and submissive the next minute whenever it serves the plot.
My second issue being that Massimo’s behavior is clearly influenced by the loss of his father. Laura was the last thing he saw while his world was still okay, so he becomes obsessed with her and searches for her the next 5 years of his life. He couldn’t stop his dad’s death, so now he must control everything. His employees, his business partners, Laura. There is a clear parallel to Fifty Shades of Grey: Christian’s behavior is similar to Massimo’s, and is excused by him being raped when he was a teenager. The quote “Trauma comes back as a reaction, not a memory” by Bessel Van Der Kolk probably sums this up best. Their behavior isn’t sexy, or manly, or attractive, they have suffered through really dramatic life events and never stopped to cope. The movie never once addresses this or the fact that Laura is clearly suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. The only reason that this is a romance movie and not the next Stephen King book is the fact that the Massimo is “hot” and that means that any woman should be happy that he wants to sleep with her, regardless of whether or not she wants to.
I feel like I went through the five stages of grief while watching this movie. I was disgusted, shocked, confused, angry and sometimes actually so surprised at how awful this movie was that I laughed out loud. After watching 365 days for over 2 hours (yes, they actually managed to make an overlength movie without having any plot) and trying to put my thoughts in words for another 10, I finally figured out what is positive about this movie: There is never going to be another movie that is as awful, uncreative, unnecessary or disappointing as 365 days was.
Picture: IMDB (Next Film)