Fifty Shades of Grey (Review)

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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ arrived in theaters this weekend with high expectations. The erotic trilogy has sold 100 million copies worldwide and has spawned a phenomenon that rivals that of ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Hunger Games’. Unfortunately for fans, the movie is complete garbage.

As terrible as the “novel”, the film is full of unnatural dialogue, very little chemistry between the actors, and laughable sex scenes. To be honest, I don’t think I have ever laughed so much in a movie before. Not because of its jokes (which there were some funny ones) but because how ridiculous this poorly assembled film was. Most startling about this film and book is its blatant attempt at portraying an abusive relationship as one that should be envied.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is exactly what Christian Grey calls himself, “fifty shades of fucked up”.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is adapted from the first book in E.L. James extremely popular trilogy. The book details Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who meets billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), thrusting themselves down paths neither have travelled before.

Ana is awkward but confident at the same time, treating Christian differently than most women have in the past. Christian on the other hand is 100 percent confident, good-looking, charming, and has very “singular” tastes. Christian reveals to Ana that he is into BDSM and wants her to sign a contract, making her, his submissive. The relationship takes many different turns due to Christian’s unwillingness to open up and Ana’s eagerness to alway be open.

The movie was essentially adapted word-for-word from the book. It is an extremely faithful adaption, even using exact quotes from the book. Cringe worthy phrases like “I want to bite that lip,” and “I don’t do romance. I fuck, hard,” are just a few of the things quoted verbatim by Christian. The dialogue in this movie is just horrendous and whoever’s idea it was at Universal to directly quote E.L. James dismal prose, should be fired immediately. Also I would like to know who’s idea it was to have Kelly Marcel write the screenplay considering her only other movie is ‘Saving Mr. Banks’. Not exactly the kind of resume that screams “adapt a BDSM erotic novel”.

My heart goes out to Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson who play the leads because no actor should have to deal with such a terrible screenplay. Falling victim to the same things as Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart in ‘The Twilight Saga’, the actors did the best they could under the circumstances. I pray that these actors will not be judged for the rest of their lives the way Pattinson and Stewart are still plagued by their roles.

Ana and Bella are very similar characters thanks to ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ originally being a Twilight fan fiction (it should have ended there). Johnson does a much better job at portraying this kind of character, giving Ana some life and improving the character for film. Her portrayal was much funnier than her character in the book as well and the funny moments were actually really, really funny. Her counterpart, Jamie Dornan was also very good all things considered but he is no Christian Grey. Lacking the sexual energy that the character has in the book, movie Christian loses a lot of what little appeal he had to start with. On the other hand, Dornan shows incredible range, switching between Christian’s ever changing moods with ease.

The two actor’s performances are good when you look at them alone but put them together and there is almost zero chemistry. There was more chemistry going on between me and CHE 211 and I nearly failed that class. The two actors just didn’t seem to click with one another on screen. This is pretty evident if you look at the press tour for the film because they look like they hate one another and hated filming this movie.

Now, the important part and the reason why millions of middle aged women turned out to see this movie – sex. Just like in the book, they are numerous and get old, real quick. The first sex scene doesn’t take place until about 40 minutes into the movie and occurs after Ana tells Christian that she is a virgin. This scene definitely proved to the sexist, homophobic old man behind me that Christian Grey is in fact, not gay. The scene is a long one and really awkward with women your mother’s age moaning around you (I will be taking up a collection to pay for my therapy). After this one ends, they just keep coming.

Eventually they make their way to Christian’s “red room” (not to be confused to with ‘Game of Thrones’ red wedding, which was more fun). Flogs, chains, whips, butt plugs, and all the sex toys that shot up Amazon’s best sellers list when the books were at their peak galore. I will admit that these scenes were actually done pretty well but that might have to do with Beyonce’s remix of ‘Crazy in Love’ playing while the action happened.

I think that the most despicable part about this movie and book is how inaccurately it portrays BDSM relationships and how they portray this abusive relationship as a love story. Many people who belong to this community have spoken out against this series, saying that the majority of this stuff would never happen and that this portrays actual abuse, not pleasure. If a man followed a woman from Seattle to Savannah, he would be arrested and thrown in jail, but here it is apparently endearing. Women in actually relationships like this end up bruised, battered and this movie spits of the graves of 4,000 women who die each year due to domestic violence. This love story is a gross portrayal and ultimately, E.L. James is perpetuating the idea that women should be treated like objects to own.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. If it wasn’t for the sake of writing this review, I would have walked out. You can watch porn with a better storyline for free than you will find in this movie.

1.5 Rating

I give ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ 1.5 out of 5 film reels.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ was released on February 13, 2015 and stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harding and Rita Ora. The film is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson.

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