If you ever wanted to know what the lovechild of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey looks like, look no further than Netflix’s 365 Days. This strange erotica/romance/horror film is trending on Netflix, but is it worth your time?
The film revolves around female protagonist Laura, who’s kidnapped by Massimo, a mafia boss. Massimo gives Laura 365 days to fall in love with him—if she doesn’t, he’ll release her.
365 Days is problematic from the jump. It takes the kidnapping-as-romance storyline from Beauty and the Beast in an even more reductive fashion. The film relies on the premise that Laura can fall in love with Massimo even though he kidnapped her.
In what world is that normal?
Massimo himself is obviously terrible, but his evil has so many layers. He tells Laura that he won’t do anything with her without her permission but instead constantly manhandles her, chokes her, and nonconsensually touches her. He tells Laura not to “provoke” him instead of taking responsibility for his own actions. And Massimo also claims that Laura needs to “teach” him to be gentle, which is his Freudian excuse for his abusive behavior.
Additionally, Massimo claims that the reason he “fell in love” with Laura is that he’s been obsessed with her since the moment when he first saw her. His behavior somehow completely disregards the fact that he kidnapped a woman against her will and prevented her from trying to escape. Massimo somehow makes Edward Cullen not look like a stalker and makes Christian Grey seem like a good partner.
Laura seems strong-willed in the beginning of the film, resisting her kidnapper despite his abuse.
But eventually, without any apparent reason, she falls for him. The filmmakers expect us to believe that Laura loves Massimo and sees something “good” in him despite the fact that he’s a criminal. 365 Days also portrays Massimo as better for Laura than her former boyfriend was, but Massimo’s actions prove otherwise.
The film can’t even make up for its atrocious plot with its writing or acting.
The dialogue is terrible (“Are you lost, baby girl?” will probably become a meme if it hasn’t already). The acting is awful, the character development is nonexistent, and even the sex scenes are cringy. You’d be better off watching porn than watching this sad excuse for a film.
While I can’t believe this film actually exists, I really can’t believe that so many of us chose to watch it. Love it or hate it, we have to admit that we’re attracted to movies that portray extremely unhealthy relationships. Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, and 365 Days all romanticize abusive relationships. And sadly, producers will continue making iterations of these films as long as we choose to watch them.
While I don’t believe that the media makes people act or think in certain ways I do think that it greatly influences us. Film ideas come from real life and vice versa. The fact that films like 365 Days exist shows that our culture normalizes relationship abuse, particularly towards women.
We need to break the cycle of glorifying abuse in films and on television.
So let’s advocate for films that portray positive relationships, consent, and boundaries. Films about abusive relationships will always pique our curiosity, but it’s time for us to say “Enough is enough.”
Featured Photo via Netflix 365 Days