Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) Review

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*sighs* I decided to watch it when it came across while I was shelving at the library. First of all, let me say I closed the book when I first tried to read it to see what the fuss was about and I just can’t. I think I got between 5-10 chapters in. I don’t remember exactly but it was back in 2012. I saw the book while I was abroad in London and I do remember exclaiming really loudly in the bookshop where I picked it up to read. So I’m reviewing this strictly as a film, nothing to do with it being an adaptation. I’ll probably mention the book but it’s not a comparison. Maybe one I’ll day when I’m feeling low, I’ll decide to continue reading but that will be a long time coming.
Pros:
The music. I hate to say that I love the soundtrack in this movie. I love Ellie Golding’s song “Love Me Like You Do” and The Weeknd’s “Earned It”. The sensual tones of certain songs, the random bits of jazz thrown in there. The music is good.
The Cinematography. It looks very good. The camera work is actually beautiful, the color tones of the movie, the clarity. It’s a very pretty looking film.
Dakota Johnson. She is the only one I think does a good job, or at least tries to with what she has. I saw How to Be Single and she’s cute in that, so this is the second movie I’ve seen her in and she’s fine. She looks just like her daddy but I think her acting is fine. She is the source of some of the humor in the movie, which I think has to do with Johnson’s comedic timing and charisma. Even though I don’t like the Ana character, I found myself wanting to because Johnson is really good here.
The Business Meeting Scene. I think this is the only scene I actually liked and enjoyed because they went through the contract of the whole Dom/Sub thing and her reactions to certain things made me chuckle. My only problem with this scene is she asks him “what’s a ball gag?” you’re supposed to do your research before you go into a business meeting. You were an English Lit major, you know how to do some forms of research so use that shiny new Mac and google it!
Cons:
Cast/Characters. I don’t think I can even really put anyone here because there isn’t anyone else really in the movie. Other people feature and cameo but they’re not important. Outside of the main two, everyone else in the movie is unimportant.
  • Jamie Dornan/Christian Grey. I actually liked Dornan in Once Upon a Time and because of these movies, his character will never come back to life *sighs*. Dornan comes across constipated instead of sexy. He’s supposed to be “intimidating”… but I didn’t get any of that. He’s mysterious? No… constipated. He’s angry with her… Are you sure he doesn’t have to burp? Whenever they’re in the Red Room, he looks uninterested in what he’s doing, so meh.
    • Now, about the actual character. He’s obviously rich but how? What did he do? What does he do? I can’t remember them talking about what his job is. I mean, I know it’s something in telecommunications because of the book but I don’t remember them referencing it and if they did… wow, in one ear and out the other. He’s 27 so how did he get to that point? Because they don’t talk about anything other than that friggin contract, we don’t know! This character is so extreme and ridiculous that I can understand why Diet Bella doesn’t take him seriously in the beginning when it came to his fetish. I probably legit wouldn’t either. He’s not mysterious, he’s not someone I would feel I need to know more about. There’s nothing interesting about him. Christian has a lot of issues, I wonder if he’s ever tried therapy because he doesn’t seem to understand why someone might not be interested in being a submissive or why she seems uncomfortable. He’s just blah.
  • Anastasia Steele. This character is basically Bella Swan and you can’t tell me otherwise. You can try and I’ll be willing to listen but the parallels are there. Anyway, she’s so bland. I give her props for holding out on that contract thing and trying to be a little strong in certain areas but overall, she’s not an interesting character. Why would all of these guys be interested in her? She’s supposed to be plain right? Naive right? Is that why everyone likes her? She even seems so surprised when Christian asks her if Jose or Paul (guy from her job which we never see her go back to by the way) are her boyfriends, or if she likes them. I mean come on, that oblivious? It seems like she’s attempting to be into this stuff because he likes it… which I would understand if they had more outings, if they talked more before they had sex, before all of this because she has an actual reason to like him instead of him making her feel good. She tells him later that she’s fallen in love with him and I’m just like with what? What has he does to warrant that?
Leading up to the… stuff. They didn’t even know each other. They  don’t know anything about each other, other than what he answered in the interview questions, which he doesn’t even answer. Even when he actually answers them it’s an email. He doesn’t even explain anything until much later in the movie, after he’s already tried to get her to sign this stupid contract. At least in Twilight, Bella and Edward had conversations before they actually started dating. Why would he think Jane Austen is the reason why she loves literature? Because every young girl has read Austen and loves Mr. Darcy and now just wants to read forever? He freaks out when he thinks it’s becoming too “romantic” or “emotional” and tells her “I’m not the man for you” and pushes her away but then turns right around and starts doing all of this stuff for her. Dude, make a decision.
The Relationship/the BDSM. Not even a relationship. He buys her first editions of literature, a macbook, a car, I mean she still has that ridiculous flip phone so why not get an iPhone as well? He takes her on a helicopter ride, a plane ride and she kind of meets his family. I mean, that’s the romance. Every time they attempt a conversation, he pulls away and after a while that’s not mysterious, that’s annoying, redundant and tedious. I’m not an expert on BDSM but I have done some research out of curiosity and because of these books, but it’s so hard to tell if she’s truly uncomfortable with it or not. She doesn’t sign the contract, they often talk about it but she never signs it, even after the business meeting. While in the moment, she seems to enjoy it, a bit before she’s nervous, which is obvious but then… she doesn’t understand why he wants to do these things. So it’s really hard to know if she wants this to please him even if she doesn’t actually want to or if she really wants this. It’s so unclear and it can be argued that the ending clears that up but I don’t think it does.
The dialogue. Oh my goodness. It’s horrible and cringe worthy. Are all of these pulled directly from the book? I know some of them are… but yeesh. These are so fan fiction-y, which is no surprise considering the origins of the book. At least there’s no voice over from Anastasia where she talks about her “inner goddess”
“Holy cow”
“I am 50 Shades of F**ked up” I lol’ed so hard.
“I don’t make love. I f**k hard.” lol
The whole hardware store scene.
The whole scene before their first sexual encounter. “You’re a virgin!?” *bewilderment*
“You’re biting your lip. You know what that does to me.”
“Welcome to my world” lol that line made me think right of Twilight when Edward took Bella on that ride and he called her “spider monkey” in the movies. *laughs*
The ending. So the last 30 minutes or so, they have an emotional conversation, I guess, he says that line “I’m 50 shades of f**ked up” and then she tells him she wants him to do his worst so she can see what it is he wants. So, he makes her bend over and he spanks her with a belt. In this scene, she’s crying, she’s already emotional because he refuses to be honest with her, or at least refuses to explain things to her (which makes me question again why she loves him). When he’s finished, she pulls away, hurt and angry and it confuses me. The times before in the Red Room, she seems to enjoy it, there’s no inner dialogue to help us distinguish her thoughts, all we have is her outward appearance so it’s really hard to gauge what she wants. Is it because it’s not in love now? Is it because it’s not passionate now because he won’t tell her why he likes to do these things? Also, why didn’t she just go home? Instead, she goes to the room he has for her in the house. Why not call Kate and go home? Kate already warned her to take things at her own pace, so now that it’s too much… go home. It’s probably because they wanted to have that last elevator scene with the doors closing.
So, that’s all I have to say. There are a few positive things, the music is great, the film looks beautiful, Dakota Johnson is fine in the movie as she attempts to breathe some life and humor into this uninteresting character (most of the humor comes from her), and I did enjoy the business meeting scene later in the film, but that’s all I can pull. This movie is not good, the characters are bland, the story at it’s core is nothing original (it’s still Twilight), the dialogue is cringeworthy and while there is chemistry between the two leads, it’s not a lot but it’s there, Dornan seems so uninterested in everything he does. The whole idea of romance is covered up with BDSM (which I’m not sure is even how BDSM is supposed to be), ridiculous dialogue and breathy looks. I guess I can see why it would be a guilty pleasure but it’s not something I would even make a move to watch again unless I’m watching it with friends and we’re having a laugh.
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars.
What did you think of Fifty Shades of Grey? Did you enjoy it? Disappointed? Not interested? Please respond in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts.
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