Monday, March 23, 2015

Movie review: Fifty Shades of Grey


Fifty Shades of Grey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Heat rating:  Flame  Flame  Flame  Flame
Pre-order the movie: Amazon

About the movie


When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.


It's been a long time since I've read the Fifty Shades books so my memory on the details are a little hazy. To me, that is always best when it comes to watching a movie adaptation of a book. It saves me from falling into the trap of "the movie is not like the book" because I don't remember enough of it precisely to make the comparisons and then getting upset. That's a good thing.

I managed to convince Steve to watch the movie with me and he did so with great reluctance. Part way into the movie he makes the observation that "I watch this stuff with you and you won't even watch Dead Poet's Society with me? Which everyone says is great!?!?" He's got a point but my tastes in movies are distinctly not romantic. I likes lots of guns and explosions in my movies. Think Die Hard and Fast & Furious! Since he's watched this with me, I think I'm going to watch Dead Poet's Society very soon!

I'm not going into a blow by blow of the movie because frankly, a lot of people have done that and will probably do it better than me.

When the movie started, the acting was so awkward and terrible, and the dialogue so incredibly cringe-worthy that I thought for sure Steve would balk and not sit through the movie with me. Ana was exceedingly gawky and Christian came across as rather flat and unemotional. I think he was trying to pull off intense and just didn't get there. His smouldering looks did not smoulder.

All that said though, I found the dialogue hilarious. It was very much like my first experience of listening to a romance on an audio book. You don't realise how ridiculous it all sounds until you hear it out loud instead of in your own head. The famous "Laters, Baby" line delivered by both Elliott and Christian at the apartment was crackingly funny and unbelievable. It was so incredibly forced, but that's what I liked about the movie. The awkwardness and the bad dialogue (and thank goodness there was no Inner Goddess!) made it enjoyable inspite of itself.

The sex scenes were actually quite well done though early on Steve said that he felt there was no chemistry between Ana and Christian in Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan's portrayal of the characters. I think he may be right.

I enjoyed the sex scenes. I thought they were explicit enough to satisfy the die hard fans but not so much so that they were pornographic. I have friends say that it was skirting the line of being X-rated but I don't think so. There was no overt scenes showing genitalia which is what puts the X in X-rated. There was a lot of play with shadow and light, quick glimpses of "bits" that you blink and you miss it. Of course, all those many scenes of Jamie Dornan taking his shirt off. That could become a trademark. Overall, it was quite tastefully done.

For the most part, I think the movie followed the book fairly well. Obviously, the movie being what it is, some parts were left out but I think enough of it was left in to satisfy the die hard fans and I think that's what this movie is all about. That said, I think the movie failed to take you on the emotional roller coaster ride which I think of as a trademark of the Fifty Shades books.

Conclusion? I enjoyed the movie. It was fun, amusing and probably better than I expect it to be. Granted the acting left much to be desired and the chemistry between Dakota and Jamie needs work, but perhaps as with E L James' writing in the books, the movies will get better as they progress.

Steve's final remark was "I liked that at the end, he became more like her, and she became more like him."

The books


About the author

eljE L James is a TV executive, wife and mother of two, based in West London. Since early childhood, she dreamt of writing stories that readers would fall in love with, but put those dreams on hold to focus on her family and her career. She finally plucked up the courage to put pen to paper with her first novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

E L James is currently working on her next novel...

Author links: Website - Facebook - Twitter

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