Angst? What Angst?: Laura's reaction to finding out that Massimo implanted birth control into her arm without consulting her is extremely subdued; in fact, she just thanks Massimo for being honest with her about it (as it turns out, he couldn't even manage that, because it's later revealed to not be a contraceptive but a tracker).
Bile Fascination: After the better-known 2020 film adaptation gained infamy over accusations of romanticizing rape, kidnapping and organized crime, some people began seeking out the original novels to see how they compared. Many readers have opined that, in addition to the questionable writingnote some readers of the English versions aren't sure if the problem lies more with the author, the editor, or the translators, the films are actually tame compared the books' outrageous content.
Critic-Proof: The trilogy has received much criticism for its writing style, and for portraying kidnapping and sexual violence in a romantic or glamorized manner, yet they still sold well enough to become international bestsellers and received movie adaptations.
The basic plot of the book and its movie adaptation revolves around a woman getting kidnapped by a hot rich guy while she's on an overseas trip, who controls and sexually assaults her, only for her to eventually fall in love with him and it's portrayed as a romance. This is also the basic plot of The Sheik, which was published in 1919, nearly a century before 365 Days was published and over a century before the film adaptation was released.
In addition to the similarities to The Sheik, it's been pointed out that a lot of older books in the romance/erotica genre - especially so-called 'bodice rippers' - tended to glamorize or downplay things like kidnapping and forced intimacy, and frequently included other forms of violence. 365 Days really isn't new in that regard, although the reason it probably drew more attention and controversy for this is because most mainstream romance novels abandoned this sort of content decades ago, due to people becoming more critical towards domestic abuse and sexual violence. 365 Days is therefore unusual, to say the least, for being published in the late 2010s and including this kind of content so blatantly, especially considering the trilogy also came out in the middle of the Me Too movement.
Sequelitis: While none of the books were exactly critical darlings, the third and final book in the trilogy, The Next 365 Days, is the lowest-rated and even annoyed legitimate fans of the first two installments. The main complaints are around the resolution of the love triangle in which Massimo becomes the villain of the story and Laura leaves him for Nacho (whom she'd been cheating on him with for much of the book anyway), and Laura also behaving in ways readers found to be extremely selfish, hypocritical or just plain stupid while the narrative tried to play it sympathetically. The ending was so controversial that it's been speculated this is why it was heavily altered for the film adaptation.
Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Throughout The Next 365 Days, Massimo spends weeks ignoring Laura save to have sex with her while she's recovering from major surgery and a miscarriage. He then rapes her during an argument and threatens to rape her again the next day even after she told him how awful he made her feel, prompting her to literally run from the house. He then kills her dog and sends her the corpse out of spite. And that's without mentioning his mistreatment of her in the previous books, too (including kidnapping her). Despite all of this and Laura now being in a safe environment with Nacho – whom she openly acknowledges treats her far better than Massimo – Laura still chooses to return to Massimo one last time and try to fix their marriage. The reason she does so is because Massimo convinces her that Nacho killed her dog; despite Laura having only Massimo and his underling's word for this, Nacho having no reason to kill her dog and Massimo not being remotely trustworthy, she immediately believes Massimo. And even if Massimo didn't kill the dog, it still doesn't erase everything else he's done. She does end up leaving him for good in the end, but she still inexplicably takes him back mostly so the story can have a more dramatic conclusion.
Adaptation Displacement: Besides maybe its native Poland, most people very likely didn't know about the book the film was based on until this film was released, let alone know that it was the first one in a trilogy.
Like with Christian Grey, many people view Massimo as being an abusivestalker who doesn't truly care about Laura, and who's only manipulating her into doing whatever he wants. If anything, going by this Massimo may be actually worse than Grey, since his plan to have her fall in love with him actually involves kidnapping her, and the fact that Massimo is an organized crime boss, which actively imperils Laura on several occasions.
Many viewers have speculated that Laura develops Stockholm Syndrome in regards to Massimo, rather than genuine love. The core signs of Stockholm syndrome are 1) developing positive feelings towards a captor/abuser, including latching onto any perceived act of kindness, 2) becoming dependent upon the captor/abuser and not wanting to leave them, sometimes perceiving those who want to help them escape as antagonistic or threatening, and 3) sympathizing and identifying with the captor/abuser, such as coming to share their beliefs and goals. Laura consents to an intimate relationship with Massimo after he saves her from drowning, believing this to be a sign he loves her even though he kidnapped and sexually harassed and assaulted her, defends him to her friends and decides to permanently tie herself to him by marrying him even after he allows her to go home.
Does Massimo have erotomania or a similar disorder? He becomes obsessed with Laura simply after seeing her once, at a distance, and never directly interacted with her until five years later, during which time he was still infatuated with her. He is genuinely convinced that by kidnapping Laura for a year this will convince her they're meant to be together and he ignores all her attempts to rebuff him, nor does he ever once seem to consider how irrational this plan is, while in other non-Laura-related situations he generally behaves in a reasonable or logical manner. He interprets a lot of Laura's behaviors as her being attracted to him despite repeated rejections and reacts with anger and violence to any perceived threat to their 'relationship'. Stress and/or trauma can sometimes be a cause of erotomania; Massimo became fixated on Laura the first time he saw her because the same day, his father was murdered in front of him and he himself almost died.
According to Michele Morrone in interviews, he played Massimo as a sex addict which certainly puts a different spin on things; it could potentially explain why he randomly gets oral sex from an air hostess and why he seems to equate sex with love when it comes to Laura, among other things.
Angst? What Angst?: Laura displays very little angst over being kidnapped by a man who who wants her to fall in love with him. In fact, during her early interactions with him, she seems annoyed rather than terrified by the situation. At first, this understandably comes off as her being in denial or as a sort of coping mechanism for such a traumatic situation, but the fact that she does fall in love with him for real and goes on to treat him like a boyfriend rather than a person who groomed and abused her renders it completely moot. She also appears remarkably unbothered by the fact he's involved in organized crime and all the money he spends on her likely comes from illegal and downright immoral activities. The only time she brings it up as an issue is when she introduces Massimo to her parents and quietly tells him to lie about his job so as to avoid any conflict, though she herself doesn't seem to care.
Bile Fascination: On several occasions the film has been described as "an even worse version of Fifty Shades of Grey". Considering that Fifty Shades is already notorious, some people just had to check out 365 Days to see if it was really that bad.
Critic-Proof: Despite being generally negatively regarded by critics, upon it being available on Netflix, it became one of the most viewed films on the platform in several countries. That being said, audience scores across the different aggregation sites also trends towards the negative.
Designated Hero: Massimo for several viewers. He's a violent, controlling crime boss involved in all kinds of unsavory things, who kidnaps a woman and sexually harasses and assaults her because he's convinced they're meant to be together, regardless of what she wants. Oh, but he thinks child abuse is evil and he promised to let Laura go after a year, so he's not that bad, right?. Some people have compared him with the equally-infamous Christian Grey (who is acknowledged in his own work as emotionally damaged) and found that Christian comes off as the nicer of the two.
Escapist Character: Laura. Rather like Anastasia Steele, of whom she's an Expy, she's not a very complex character and can easily become an Audience Surrogate to help readers imagine they're living out the fantasy of having kinky sex with a handsome rich guy and being spoiled by him.
Ensemble Dark Horse: Olga, for her Only Sane Woman status and for being a genuine funny Deadpan Snarker, in a movie with a lot of Narm. She is Laura's best friend and clearly loves Laura to a great deal as a friend, tries to make Laura see that how wrong is the whole situation with this forced romance with Massimo, and has such good chemistry with Laura that many people would prefer to see them ending together and raise Laura's unborn baby.
Fetish Retardant: For many viewers, much of the sexual content in the first half of the movie comes off as either awkwardly hilarious or disturbing and creepy given that Laura is being held by Massimo against her will and is (initially) not happy with the situation.
Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The movie had a modest theatrical run in its native Poland, and received its only international release in the United Kingdom (which was a limited release), before becoming a hit overseas after being released on Netflix.
He's Just Hiding: Simply put, a lot of people believe that Laura didn't get killed at the ending, and was instead kidnapped.
Ho Yay: Quite a few critics and viewers have noted that Laura seems in general to have much better chemistry with her best friend, Olga, than she does with Massimo, in the somewhat limited screentime they share. They get rather physically affectionate in a few scenes, including in a hot tub and while dancing in a club; they even briefly kiss on the lips and Olga also suggests they raise Laura's unborn child together if things don't work out with Massimo. It probably also scores points for representing a relationship without any abusive elements and the fact that the two actresses seem to have genuine fun together in their scenes.
Hype Backlash: The film gained worldwide fame via its similarities with Fifty Shades of Grey, while hyped up as having more daring, boundary-pushing and risque sex scenes (something the Fifty Shades films also hyped, but most viewers ultimately found them to be pretty tame). While some agreed with the film having more explicit sex scenes, others didn't see what the fuss was about them, plus some who found in it the same problems of the Fifty Shades films...to say nothing of the controversy surrounding the way the main character's relationship can come off, which if anything has been worse than what was leveled at the Fifty Shades films.
A lot of people also watched it just to see the gorgeous Anna Maria Sieklucka.
Like You Would Really Do It: One would be hard-pressed to find anyone who genuinely believes that Laura was killed at the end, considering that this is an adaptation of the first book in a trilogy, and that there are multiple possibilities for her to have survived. The fact that a sequel was announced almost immediately after its release didn't help matters.
A common meme template associated with the movie is to put pictures of real-life mob bosses and kidnappers alongside Massimo's for comparison, showing how handsome Massimo is while the actual mob bosses… aren't.
Massimo's sort-of catchphrase, "Are you lost, baby girl?" has also seen some mileage.
The song "I See Red" is used on Tik Tok for funny videos where a muscular guy would show up to your place and flex their muscles when the song's refrain would be playing.
There was also the infamous scene of Massimo getting a blowjob from a flight attendant in his private jet, where their expressions look like they're less of pleasure and more like they are both having a stroke.
Laura falling from the yacht is supposed to be a dramatic moment, but the way Laura abruptly flips over the railing and head-dives into the water looks pretty hilarious to some viewers.
When Olga asks Laura to describe the man she's fallen in love with, Laura proceeds to list Massimo's qualities, the icing on the cake is when Olga asks if his cock was made by God and Laura replies "No, by the Devil." It's presumably supposed to underline the sexy bad boy thing, but it makes it sound like his genitals are demonically possessed.
No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: If anything, the film proved to be even more controversial than Fifty Shades of Grey (with which it is commonly compared), being accused of romanticizing kidnapping and rape. However, it didn't stop it from being one of the most viewed films on Netflix (if not the most viewed) in several countries for several days.
Nightmare Fuel: It's horrifying how many times Laura is molested and/or abused without her consent...and yet this is presented as not only romantic, but a relationship to aspire to.
Serial Numbers Filed Off: The book's author has freely admitted to have taken Fifty Shades of Grey as an inspiration (which itself started life as Twilight fanfiction, before enough alterations were made to turn it into an original work). Readers of both note many remaining similarities between the two works, especially the characterization, with Massimo basically being a Flanderized Christian Grey on crack.
Signature Scene: Laura and Massimo's explicit, five minute-long sex scene on a yacht, often referred to as the "boat scene". Anyone who has watched the movie, or is at least familiar with it, will likely know what the "boat scene" refers to even without any further context.
So Bad, It's Good: Many viewers find the film enjoyable on some level due to the sheer ridiculousness of the plot and unabashedly explicit sexual content.
Spiritual Successor: To Fifty Shades of Grey, which the author has stated was a big influence; both stories include similar plot beats, character types, and relationship dynamics (including an Unequal Pairing, BDSM themes, romanticizing domineering and aggressive men who like being 'challenged' by the heroine, Sex Equals Love etc). Hell, there's even a scene where Massimo and Laura go to a masquerade ball much like Anastasia and Christian.
Strangled by the Red String: Massimo and Laura's romance isn't well developed. Massimo became fixated on Laura after seeing her once, at a distance, five years ago and then decides the best way to win her over is to kidnap her. Despite Massimo's claims he loves her, he doesn't respect her wishes and is very aggressive towards her. Laura spends half the film being antagonistic towards Massimo, understandably seeing as he kidnapped her, then suddenly decides she wants to have sex with him after he saves her from drowning (which was technically his fault). After a few months at most, they decide to get married and the film portrays this as them being truly in love, even though their onscreen relationship is mostly based around sex rather an emotional connection.
Massimo mentions that he wouldn't have chosen the mafia life for himself, but he felt he had no choice after his father was assassinated and he had to step up to keep order. The movie could've played up Massimo wanting to get out of organized crime and lead a more normal life, which would possibly have helped make him more sympathetic and appealing as a love interest as well, but the movie never brings it up again.
Beyond the fact Massimo saw her moments before his father's murder and his own Near-Death Experience, Laura being present at the mob hit in the prologue has little effect on the rest of the plot. It could've been interesting if Massimo tracked down Laura because she was a witness to the attack so she can help identify the assassins and enable Massimo to avenge his father's death, as well as to protect Laura from being silenced by the rival gangsters, and they subsequently fall in love by happenstance rather than Massimo trying to force the matter. This would've made Massimo's reasons for kidnapping Laura far more sympathetic and could've added a mystery/revenge plot to balance out the romance and fanservice.
Considering that Laura is initially presented as a clever, resourceful and strong-willed woman, and she does try to escape a few times early in the story, one wonders what the film would've been like if it focused on Laura's attempts to outwit and escape Massimo and his gangsters.
Unnecessary Makeover: Many viewers thought that Laura looked better with long brunette hair than the short platinum blonde style she gets near the end.