I’m going to have to start this review with a confession. I read Fifty Shades of Grey. I read the whole damn thing on my Kindle. Yup, I’m a sucker. Peer pressure is my enemy and curiosity could kill me just as easily as it would a cat. When this book came out, everyone had an opinion. It was sexy, it was horrible, it was stupid, it was fluff, it was erotica, it was poorly written, and it was fun. There were so many differing viewpoints and they varied so dramatically, I simply could not resist reading the book. I had to, in order to form my own opinion because if there’s anything I love more than sexy, it’s opinions.
With that said, I decided I’d review the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey when the Internet decided this was the movie I was supposed to hate. You probably can’t tell, but my inner goddess is dancing in defiance and reveling in the sensation. There’s no containing that bitch, so I better get on with it.
We meet Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) on his morning jog in Seattle. It’s clear from the start that Mr. Grey is wealthy. He’s insanely successful, incredibly good looking, disciplined, mysterious, complicated and a bit of a dick. He’s also agreed to do an interview for a university paper, but his interviewer, Kate Kavanagh (Eloise Mumford) is sick. In her place, Anastasia Steel (Dakota Johnson)—Kate’s BFF—is sent to interview the world’s most eligible billionaire.
Anastasia is out of her element the moment she takes a look around Christian Grey’s office. There are nothing but beautiful women in tasteful suits and pulled back hair walking around. Grey’s office is cold, grand and gorgeous. Anastasia, on the other hand, is wearing a pair of rugged boots, a cardigan and a shirt that looks like it might just have birds on it. While waiting at reception, it dawns on her that she’s the antithesis of the polished professional, and suddenly, she’s nervous to do this favor for her friend.
Christian and Anastasia hit it off almost instantly. At first, there’s a bit of awkward fumbling followed by an exchange of charming smiles and then, just like that, Grey is hooked. This girl who is everything he’s not, has just piqued his interest and became his new obsession. Anastasia clearly feels it too because she runs straight out of that interview and into a Seattle downpour, just to cool off.
Fifty Shades of Grey is the story of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steel’s dysfunctional relationship and “unconventional” sex life. This movie, like the book, is meant to spark arousal and on that most basic level, it succeeds.
Jamie Dornan makes for a decent Christian Grey. He doesn’t have the kind of face that I envisioned for Grey when I read the book, but that body is spot on. Dornan’s portrayal of Christian Grey is one dimensional and that has just as much to do with the story as his performance. Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steel is a little more aware and empowered than the character in the book and that’s good. What’s unfortunate is the trite storyline and unimaginative storytelling.
To reiterate, Fifty Shades of Grey is successful at arousal. I know because when I saw it, another woman in the audience giggled nervously and joked awkwardly during every bondage and oral sex scene. While the movie is seductive, it’s not much more. Fortunately, the dialogue comes off as self-aware and borderline witty. As a matter of fact, the dialog makes the trite storyline digestible.
Unfortunately, It’s going to take more than a bunch of chuckle-producing exchanges to save a movie about a controlling boyfriend and his submissive ingénue. The writing, while funny in spots, isn’t the best and that makes the drawn out storytelling feel tedious. I got bored enough to close my eyes for a second and one second is too many when I’m at the movies, expecting to be either entertained or intrigued.
Fifty shades of Grey is not the abomination the Internet would like you to believe. Frankly, it’s not interesting enough to merit such a strong response. Sure, it’s sexy, but if you want to get turned on, find yourself some free internet porn and have at it. Don’t pay for it at your local movie theater because that’s just awkward.
Fifty Shades of Grey – C-
C- = A whole lot of OK does not equal great, or even good for that matter. Meh–meh is what it equals.
Image Source: US Magazine