MRM: “Fifty Shades of Grey”
~ 2 Minute 45 Second Read
Movie Review Monday: Fifty Shades of Grey
Writer: Kelly Marcel, E.L. James
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Stars: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan
It’s almost pointless to review this movie because there was so much hype when it came out that everyone has already seen it or followed their instincts and avoided it. I read the book along with everybody else and thought the writing was awful. First, I’d like to state that I’m not going to pretend I’m better than reading an erotic book. I will say, I’ve never read one before but I had an idea of what it would be like. I think this story got a lot of mockery because the majority of people who read it have never read that type of book before and the only reason it was popularized was because it was based off of the characters of Twilight. With that foundation, it gave everyone an incentive to check it out. Even if the writing had no value. It was repetitive and didn’t hold your attention. It basically kept you wanting to jump forward to get to the “good parts” which finally peaked a bit more interest but were over quickly.
With that in mind, when you hear they are coming out with a movie you instantly think it’ll be all the sex scenes because that is all that captured your attention. In reality, it is a majority of all the slow moving, dull moments. If an erotic book becomes an erotic movie, you would expect a bit more intensity in the bedroom. They hinted to the kink with showing some of the toys and going over them in the contract but there wasn’t much use of anything that we haven’t seen in other movies. A flogger and a blindfold isn’t overly scandalous.
Asserting dominance can be a big turn on for a lot of people. They are in control but most importantly, are still fixated on the seduction of their partner. In the book, we felt Anastasia lust for Christian and read each sex scene as an exploration of her needs as well as his. In the movie, the visuals of watching Anastasia be submissive to pain solely for the sake of being with Christian seemed much more of an unlawful fantasy. One quote I found absolutely cringe-worthy:
Anastasia: What would I get out of all of this?
I hope this doesn’t leave the impression that any guy is deserving of dominating pain because he is attractive. I’m not accusing this story of being too influential and inappropriate. This is a lifestyle that some people live and I don’t think they need to change the subject but they do need to showcase it better and correctly. I don’t know much about BDSM, I’ve never been a part of that community and I won’t pretend I know much about it. I am only going off by my perception of the book as compared to the movie as well as what I would try to envision is appealing about it. While reading Fifty Shades I was in Anastasia’s mind frame and the focus was on her pleasure (because we knew Christian was in charge of what he needs.) Everything Christian would do would be satisfying the both of them.
In the movie, it was presented differently. I felt like Ana got the short end of the stick and was convinced to do things she didn’t want to, all for Christian’s sex drive. People say that this is a “bored housewives” fantasy, I think it’s more of a mother’s nightmare. If you’re taken advantage of by someone who you previously found sexy, that doesn’t make it okay. I would guess that BDSM is more about feeding your turn ons in a safe environment with people you respect. Not manipulating a permanently wet virgin to surrender themselves to pain for your pleasure.
The fact that Anastasia has to abide by his rules like eating enough and not drinking too much is also ridiculous. The only reason I didn’t take that part too seriously is because I think it’s where the homage to Edward Cullen came in. Whereas Edward had rules about Bella being safe, which some people do find endearing and want to be cradled that way. (I was always team Jacob because they were more adventurous and fun).. but Christian’s rules are more significant to his own benefit rather than of any advantage to Ana.
What made this movie even worse was the casting. There was no chemistry between Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. There were lots of awkward moments where I felt second-hand embarrassment. Some of it was intentional but some of it was bad timing and amateurish acting. The only positive note of them picking Dakota Johnson is she isn’t a typical Hollywood beauty. She looks like any average woman which is how Anastasia is described. Jamie Dornan didn’t entirely capture my attention either which is a bit of a disappointment when the spotlight is on how seductive and charming he is. Admittedly, that’s only my personal taste.
I would not recommend you go watch this movie. Even with a curiosity of what goes on inside the red walls of Christian Grey’s playroom. I think Fifty Shades was a bad representation of what we are all intrigued to see. I ask you instead to surf the internet or find a novel with some substance to learn from.