Fifty Shades of Grey is a movie that will divide opinion in several ways. Firstly, there will be those devout fans who will revel in its cringe-worthy script, having already been introduced to lines such as ‘I want to f**k you into the middle of next week’ in E.L James’ original book. Even your granny will laugh at that one. We actually forgot how many grave-turning zingers were in store. Though it’s not what she initially signed up for, Sam Taylor Johnson has wound up staying as loyal to the book as possible in bringing the story to the big screen. Thankfully, though, this noteworthy director had the common sense to leave out certain parts such as when Ana, played here by a surprisingly watchable Dakota Johnson, goes off on one of many tangents about her ‘inner goddess’ who all but orgasms at the sight of Mr Grey’s nipples.
As for those who haven’t read the book? It’s quite funny that brands around the world have aligned themselves with this movie in their promotion of Valentine’s Day. Interesting too that Fifty Shades will hit the masses just before the most romantic day of the year. As you’ll soon find out, there is nothing remotely romantic or lovey-dovey about our leading man, Christian Grey; as he says himself, he’s ‘fifty shades of f*cked up’. What begins as a sexy, forbidden fruit-esque dalliance between a powerful man and a curious young woman soon takes a rather uncomfortable turn.
Gaggles of girls expecting giggles and thrills will get what they paid for with the first half of the movie. But this isn’t Twilight or Sex and the City. About an hour in, the film’s self-aware sense of humour takes a side step, allowing for the dark centre to unfold: Christian Grey is, arguably, a sadist, who takes pleasure in dominating women, ordering them to their knees and whipping them severely with all kinds of accoutrements, among other things. Naturally, he’s got a dark, secretive past. It’s here where newcomers to the story will find themselves a little disturbed, especially with casual mentions of child abuse.
The plot? Ana craves Christian but she wants to be more than his submissive. She wants a normal relationship but of course that’s new territory for Grey, who finds himself grappling with new, somewhat human, feelings. As attractive and sexually equipped as he is, Ana’s not okay with handing over her free will. But why, we ask, does Grey want to do this to her? Why, as Ana also wonders, won’t he let her in past a certain point? What’s behind that cold, grey (but did we say hot) exterior?
Well, we’ve got two more movies in which to find out.
Where it falls down? Being frank, all that is wrong with this movie was already wrong with the book; there was only so much Taylor-Johnson could do with this poisoned chalice and she’s given it more than we’d expected. Still though, I’ve never heard so many ‘what the f***’s’ and ‘ah Jaysus’s’ at one press screening.
The positives? If you can leave your ‘down with this sort of thing’ preconceptions at the door, and as Grey himself urges, let yourself go, you just might enjoy the ride (pun totally intended). What’s more, if you’re toying with the idea of expanding your bedroom repertoire, there’s plenty to mull over here (just don’t go to see it with your mother). Johnson deserves kudos for portraying Ana Steele in a far more likeable manner than what we get with the book. She’s funny too. Unfortunately, we can’t quite comment on Jamie Dornan’s performance as we were too busy dribbling at the sight of his carved-by-angels face. What’s also worth mentioning is the soundtrack; we’re off to download it right now.
As one of the most hyped movies of all time Fifty Shades of Grey is certainly worth the watch, even if you tear the proverbial out of it afterwards.