Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Eloise Mumford, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes
Directed By: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Written By: Kelly Marcel
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 2 hr 5 min
Well here it is, the big movie adaptation of the book that is loved and adored by millions of women all over the world, including my 64-year-old mother! What? It was a birthday gift, and she enjoyed it so much I ended up buying her the rest of the series! And considering how well this first film did at the US box office, you can bet we’ll be seeing more Grey in our theaters over the next couple of years. Oh the agony!
Or so I thought. In all honestly, Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t all that bad, and even has some genuinely entertaining moments. Dakota Johnson turns in a decent performance as the sexually ‘submissive’, Anastasia Steele, in this twisted tale of love and whips, and the whole production is slickly assembled with a great soundtrack featuring songs by Annie Lennox, Beyoncé and The Weeknd.
Where it fails in my opinion, is due to the flat performance from Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, and the somewhat tame way they explore his character’s sexual fantasies. The movie also tells this story from the less interesting point of view of Anastasia (like the book, so I’m told), when Grey’s character is by far the most fascinating. She’s just the innocent girl swept off her feet by the weird billionaire. Whereas he is a 27-year-old communications mogul/helicopter pilot with a ‘playroom’ full of fetish gear. Whose formative years have turned him into a kinky deviant looking for willing women to sign bondage contracts!
All in all, Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t a completely horrible time at the theater. The movie targets the same demographic that loved the novel, and for the most part, it would seem director Sam Taylor-Johnson and writer Kelly Marcel, have successfully translated pages to frames in such a way to keep the fans happy. As a love story however, it’s only about fifty percent effective. It also doesn’t explore the sadomasochism angle in any great detail, and this film is certainly nowhere near as good as the movie, Secretary, which covers similar themes, in a much more sophisticated way.
This film is targeted at the same audience that loved the book, and is rated R for scenes of nudity, sadomasochism and language.
The rainy Seattle back drop is nice, and the film is very polished. An evening screening as the opening act in a ‘girls night’ out, would be the perfect way to enjoy this film.
Christian Grey has a contact he wants Anastasia to sign. Basically a list of things he’d like to do sexually with the willing signee. I really enjoyed the frank and open business meeting the couple had to discuss ‘the contract.’