I took the bait and watched Netflix’s trending movie 365 Days, which is being described as the international and more explicit version of 50 Shades of Gray. While I’m all for camp movies, especially ones that are so bad they’re good (Showgirls, The Room), this movie is just awful. It has no natural flow, zero storyline, no character development and by the end of it I just sat there thinking – what did I just watch? A mix of Italian, Polish and English speaking drama that can only be described as cringe every time the actors phonetically act their English lines. While our two protagonists are ridiculously good looking, there are just too many problematic interactions and confusing plot holes that simply can’t be dismissed.
We open up with Massimo, a Mafia boss and Laura, a Polish woman who is vacationing with her boyfriend and friends in Italy. Massimo had some sort of vision of her many years before and by chance sees her. He has determined that she is his by way of destiny. He kidnaps, isolates and sexualizes her and alludes that while he always gets what he wants, even by force, he wants to prove to Laura that all he needs is just 365 days (oh the title – I see what you did there!) to make her fall in love with him. Ipso facto, it’s her “choice” whenever she decides she will submit and become his. We are then subjected to the montage of all montages – the shopping trip! There is a lot of flirting, controlling, and provocation that all comes to a head when Massimo saves our Laura from drowning. In the worst type of movie trope, we are presented with the savior. The connotation is clear, Massimo saved Laura and his selfless act proves that he would do anything for her. She then has an epiphany and decides that she doesn’t actually need a year to love him, his heroic act convinced her enough. We then have a long drawn out explicit sex scene. Similar to 50 Shades of Gray you ask? Don’t know her.
After all the sex we get ANOTHER shopping trip montage (I’m not going to say that there is a third shopping trip montage… except that there is).
The problem I have with this movie outside of how completely awful and dumb it is, is the parallels of an emotional, physical and financial abusive relationship. There is a real glorification of violence, specifically in kidnapping and rape. Throughout the movie, Massimo completely isolates Laura from her home, her friends and everything she knows. She is forced to buy new clothes and go to places Massimo tells her to go. When he finally let’s her go back to Poland, again it is under his conditions and she must stay at an apartment he picks out. No job? No worries, Massimo picks up the tab.
There is a very clear rapey undertone here that the viewer is supposed to believe is sexy but is incredibly creepy. The first time they meet, he asks “Are you lost baby girl?” [Insert – cringe]. Throughout the movie he keeps calling her baby girl and it just further adds to this notion that she is a lost child that depends on him and needs him to guide the way. When Laura initially tries to escape he pins her against the wall and fondles her. There is a scene in the movie where they are on an airplane and Laura has been tied up to not escape. Massimo with zero consent from Laura puts his hands down her pants and touches her. We’re not supposed to think it’s molestation though because she sighs a little in pleasure. When they finally have sex, there is a complete switch in Laura’s personality and suddenly Massimo becomes honey- not the guy who was sexually assaulting her all this time.
Did I convince you to watch this film? Please do so you can waste your time like I did. I bet if you made this movie into a drinking game where every time you cringe you take a shot, you will be passed out within 5 minutes. I’m convinced Netflix is trolling us because apparently there will be a second and third film of 365 Days. Until then, drink up because you’re going to need it with this movie.