When it comes to Fifty Shades of Grey there is pretty much one divide in opinion, love it or hate it. Then there are the rest of us who have absolutely no desire to develop an informed decision because that means we’d actually have to read it. I fall into the latter category, but I was willing to give the film adaptation a chance. What I can say is the film was a little better than expected, but it’s still Fifty Shades of Grey.
Everyone has probably heard the basic story behind Fifty Shades of Grey, but just in case you’ve been in a coma for the past year or two here we go: girl meets boy. Girl is super soft-spoken and awkward, whereas boy is gorgeous and powerful. Girl falls for boy, and boy has interest in girl as well. Boy has specific set of skills that are not the same as the ones Liam Neeson makes great use of. Boy shows girl secret playroom of sex. Sex happens.
Even with my disinterest (click here to read Heather’s book review to see my understanding of what to expect), I was willing to give the movie a chance because I really like Dakota Johnson (I will never forgive the early cancellation of Ben and Kate!) and Jamie Dornan wears jeans really well. Like, REALLY well. Dornan’s job is easy enough, whereas Johnson has the harder task: make Anastasia a character that doesn’t constantly ask for eyes to be rolled at her.
Things were not looking good to start off as Anastasia enters Grey’s phallic office building, falling flat on her face as she is introduced to the man himself. Embarrassed, she proceeds to be uncomfortable, quiet and unsure of her skills at basic conversation and eye contact, and prone to biting her lip in a performance that looks to compete with Kristen Stewart’s habits in Twilight. The writing isn’t the best, and the movie’s run time begins to look longer and longer as the majority of the film still stretches out in front of us. This is going to be rough.
Thank goodness for Dakota Johnson. Occasionally the script does have its bright moments as they allow Johnson to react to weird situations and Christian’s straight forward nature in a way that any normal girl would react, acknowledging how weird a lot of it all is. That, and she makes a pretty great drunk girl. Added bonus, it turns out Anastasia isn’t quite the meek pushover I was expecting, at least not to the extent I had assumed, and occasionally we are treated to decent interactions between the two as she stands up for herself, even as the story continues to lack. And boy does the story lack.
Basically this is a below average romance that involves a man who is who he is because of a hinted at troubled childhood that doesn’t even include the statutory rapist who came to him later in his teens. There is no character development on his part as he continues to mess with Anastasia’s mind by being the man she wants for short bursts of time before remembering that he has this weird inability to be touched. But let’s face it, you’re not seeing the movie for the characters anyway, you’re seeing it for all the sexy time.
There’s definitely plenty of this in the movie, but less than I expected. And far less disturbing and uncomfortable sexual situations that I assumed would occur considering all the toys he has. I’ve seen far worse in True Blood, that’s for sure. Instead what we get is a lot of butts and boob shots, and a lot of satisfaction on Johnson’s face. No seriously, there must have been a really sensual breeze in that room doing a little extra to help Grey out because he would barely touch her and she was already gone, loving life and forgetting all about how he isn’t really giving her the relationship she wants.
Long story short: you’re going to get what you expect from Fifty Shades of Grey, and what I expected was an underdeveloped story as the sex is where the focus lies. They were so distracted by it in the editing process that they forgot to include the last 10 or 20 minutes of the film. That was not a movie ending! Now I am stuck not knowing where things go, and not knowing if I really care enough to find out.