I should probably preface this review by making it clear that I haven’t read any of the Fifty Shades books. Therefore I went into the theater with very little background information on the E L James book adapted film, and therefore went solely off the interest from previews. It doesn’t take long in the theater for those who have read the book to stand out as they quickly begin to snicker and giggle at just about every scene and every bit of dialogue. I’ve been told that the film is a direct reflection of the book, and while some scenes mag have been left out, there are really no surprises or new additions to look forward to if you have read the book.
Let’s start with the acting. Dakota Johnson, who’s been in such breath taking films as 21 Jump Street and Need For Speed stars as a vulnerable Anastasia Steele. Jamie Dornan, star of The Fall plays the well built, visually appealing specimen that is Christian Grey. Not sure if it was the script or the rush that was put on completing the film but there was very little to be enjoyed on the acting front. For Anastasia’s character obviously you really needed an actress that was okay with being completely nude for half the film so that likely limited the options. For Christian however, you can’t help but wonder if things would have been a bit more compelling if Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy kept the role. Marcia Gay Harden is the only well-respected actor to appear in the entire film and that hurts the overall quality here.
As for content, I am actually shocked women enjoyed these books after watching. BDSM is a lifestyle that many choose and from my understanding is equally beneficial to all involved because it stimulates and arouses the inner passions. While it may be judged for its use of interesting bedroom equipment, it’s not about pain or hurting someone, neither physically or emotionally.
Fifty Shades of Grey the film however feels like a Lifetime movie uncovering a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. At times I was uncomfortable sitting there watching Anastasia go down a dark twisted path that she obviously really wanted no parts of. I even found myself questioning the types of fantasies the predominantly female audience must have in their private time if they could comfortably watch a man take a woman’s virginity with not a bit of second thought and no sign of soft touch. Christian Grey obviously is taking advantage of Anastasia throughout the film, so why are we so supportive of his preying on this younger, weaker girl? Speaks to the society we live in.
The more the film progressed the more I felt like I was watching a cautionary tale about the things men with the slightest power can get away with, especially when they’ve found someone naive enough not to know any better. The film should probably come with a pamphlet with signs to know if you’re in an abusive relationship. And an info-mercial before and after the film on how women can get help/
But what do I know, the franchise continues to rake in big bucks to the tune of millions of dollars thanks to supportive audiences nationwide.
Now I get it, there are thoughts and things the characters must go through that I am probably not privy to by just watching the film, but if I have to read the book to enjoy the film, that’s a bit of a waste isn’t it??? By the time the film ends after two hours and four minutes it’s long overdue. Although it doesn’t end where the first book ends (so I’ve been told) the viewer has seen enough. Honestly, the film would probably be better suited as a series on Cinemax After Dark alongside Zane’s Sex Chronicles reruns. All things considered, it would be a PERFECT fit.
Best thing about Fifty Shades of Grey? The soundtrack. The Weeknd shines and when in doubt about your feelings about what’s taking place on the screen, at least you can bob your head to the music.
Fifty Shades of Grey receives a PA.