365 Dni (365 Days) – A Story of Stockholm Syndrome & Abuse

by | Jun 7, 2020 | Blog

If you haven’t seen it yet, a Polish movie called 365 Dni (365 Days) is being proclaimed the ‘New Fifty Shades’ after its recent release on Netflix. Just like its counterpart, though, it has some very worrying and downright scary themes.

To start, I’d like to congratulate the film for dropping the traditional movie gaslighting trope in favour of all-out kidnapping, coercion and Stockholm syndrome as a source of modern romance. The movie’s managed to find the blurry consent line that 50 Shades sidled up to, then jump right over it (albeit with fewer whips and chains).

The movie follows the story of a woman, Laura, who is on holiday with her boyfriend. She’s then kidnapped by Mafia Boss Massimo, who gives her an ultimatum; he will hold her captive for 365 days in which he wants her to fall in love with him. If, after that time, she doesn’t love him, she is free to leave and return to her normal life.

On one hand, we’re lead to believe that Laura is a captive, scared every moment for her life. On the other hand, we see her intentionally taunt Massimo with seductive glances and naked showers. The character of Laura, a victim of a kidnap and abuse, is so badly written, it falls outside the parameters of reality and into the realm of the poor writing of a below average skin flick.

Massimo promises not to touch her without consent then does so continually, not to mention touching (and sexually engaging) with other women in front of her.

The movie tries and fails to be comedic and teasing, and finishes with a poor attempt at feminism, seduction and romance. Of course, there’s a twist thrown in too, one which is far more shocking if you’ve truly seen the abuse that leads up to it.

The idea that a victim can change a perpetrator is seen repeatedly in these types of movies. The problem is that very few people talk about the number of victims required to reach a point where the perpetrator suddenly decides to break the pattern and change. In most cases, the perpetrators never reach that point.

Would the story be as sexy if Massimo had died and his middle-aged father had been the protagonist? Likely not; like all villians, we can only admire and relate to Massimo if he’s a handsome tortured soul.

Should we be thankful that the lines are so far crossed that it takes a scarier person to re-enact this movie in real life? Definitely not, because if this movie inspires copycats, they won’t stop at faux bdsm, but follow it up with a host of other crimes as well.

Thinly veiled soft porn isn’t unusual these days, but the added nonconsensuall side, as well as the coercion involved, is a narrative that’s appearing in more and more popular books and films.

A relationship that begins with kidnapping, abuse and gaslighting doesn’t end with happily ever after.

Susannah is an Internet Safety and Mental Health Activist as well as a Digital Marketer and Journalist. She is the survivor of a childhood attack which left her with a tracheostomy for eleven years. As a teenager, she was groomed by a catfish, a relationship which continued for twelve years. Susannah has completed studies in Journalism, a Birth Doula certification and most recently, a Master of Marketing.
Susannah Birch