Fifty Shades of Grey – Movie Review
Fifty Shades of Grey – R
Release Date: Fri 13 Feb 2015
The film adaptation of E.L. James bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey is the first in a trilogy about the relationship between a young, inexperienced woman named Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and a man with a shady past and a taste for BDSM: Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan.) The first movie, like the novel, explores the first meeting between the two leads, Christian’s explaining to Ana what he wants, and Ana’s reluctant but always growing fascination. The relationship is nothing conventional, even though those are the instincts that Ana has. Her infatuation and growing love for Christian pushes her further into doing what he wants, but it still can become overwhelming or simply not enough to her own expectations.
While readers of the book will no doubt notice that the film tones down some of the more illicit content, this is done both as a means of mainstreaming the story and making it more efficient. We get to see how possessive Christian is very early as he interrogates her about whether any of the men he’s seen her with are her boyfriend. A lot of exposition and character development happens in a rushed but effective way. The direction and cinematography are both excellent, and Dakota Johnson fares extremely well as Ana, especially when she turns a line of dialogue into a joke with her delivery.
The movie’s ending and Jamie Dornan are disappointments. The characters talk about Christian as being intimidating, but he is neither physically intense nor does he have a commanding presence on the screen. This isn’t helped by the fact that most of the other men with speaking roles are good looking and make Jamie Dornan look like kind of a dweeb, particularly Max Martini as Taylor, Christian’s driver. The movie ends abruptly, as if putting anything more satisfying – including a cliffhanger – would be too much to ask. Many of those gathered around me at the first showing in town muttered disappointed “That’s it?” as the credits rolled. “I guess now I’ll have to finish the second book,” another said.
Watching Fifty Shades of Grey as a cultural phenomenon is interesting if only try to better understand it. Certainly this movie isn’t going to satisfy fans of the book so much as sate their need to see some adaptation, even if it couldn’t wait for a better cast. As it is, the movie is too little too late for fans of the book and leaves the rest of us wondering what all the fuss was about.
Hannah, Amber, Aaron and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: