Fifty Shades of Grey, Film Review and Commentary
Introduction: Fifty Shades of Grey is something that I have kept tabs on due to its growing popularity in the past couple of years. I read the book for purely scientific reasons (go ahead and laugh it sounds ridiculous but it was indeed the truth.) and have found that the writing style is poor and the dialogue is painfully dry, aside from the moments that only serve to be jarring. The story is about this successful man who keeps his sexual preferences secret and brings this plain and boring girl into the world of BDSM to be his submissive.
The majority of the comments circulating about this book and film are the religious groups who stand by “sex is a sin” and the very upset BDSM community who feels their community is being represented as abusive. Personally on this subject matter I feel that everyone should be able to do what they want as long as they aren’t hurting another human being, and who am I to tell anyone what they can consent to. I will probably at a later day post my thoughts on consent and the world of fetishism but for now I will simply comment on the film. Sorry for the long introduction but I couldn’t write my review without stating my basic thoughts on the matter at hand.
Was it an Adequate Book Adaptation? Yes, it was. As far as representing the story and preserving the major posisition of plot points as well as the dialogue they did a great job. Personally I think they should have taken on rewriting the dialogue because I felt the books dialogue was a little heavy handed. However this book filmed well because it actually took you out of Anastasia’s head, who was so one dimensionally simple it was painful. The film was more watchable then the book was readable.
Were the Sex Scenes Necessary? I have heard this question a lot, and if you have read the book it is hard to say that those scenes aren’t necessary. The reader, a long with the main character is being brought into a world that is new and alarming. However in the film I thought that they had too many vanilla sex scenes. I was waiting for something a little more shocking and a step away from movie theatre acceptable porn.
Unnerving? Watching a woman being so submissive is a very interesting thing to watch. Being submissive in the bedroom is one thing, but the over all controlling nature of Grey, is a little uncomfortable. He is always telling her to eat, and take care of herself, which as a very self sufficient woman, that simply sounds annoying. Based on the film alone, there is not any behavior that Anastasia does not consent to, and when she doesn’t like something he is quick to stop. I have read a lot of the commentary on this, and how a man shouldn’t make a woman cry and that she clearly doesn’t seem stable and I agree with this sentiment; However I find it kind of hilarious that this film is getting the heat for that behavior with a large percentage of women are married to men they don’t love anymore and feel trapped for many different reasons. As a female and a good friend I have had many conversations about how someone’s unhappy about their significant other and picks unhappiness over fear of losing them. I am not praising this behavior but simply saying, it is pretty common and manifests in a majority of different ways.
How is it if you haven’t read the book? Interesting. It is watching a normal girl descend into a new lifestyle and learn about what she wants from a relationship whilst a series of “kinky” sex scenes. The cinematography is good, and it was well directed. It may seem a little anticlimactic at times (perfect word choice) and the plot moves forward at strange intervals, it is entertaining and there is nothing else like it.
Is it just Porn? Will it have an effect on film? I just asked myself a compound question about two sort of gray (more puns) areas. I would say No it not just porn and yes I think it will. This film, especially since fairly well done will open doors for a lot of movies like it. I don’t mean, movies that would be porn if it was shot at a different angle, but movies about fetishism, I am even hoping for a sort of psychological thrillers. With the amount of ticket sales it is clear that not only sex sells, but kinky sex sells more. There is a lot to say about fetishism and exploring the psyche and interests would take thousands of films, but each has the potential to bring us something new and maybe even more on the original side.
Flaws? The biggest turn offs, were plot jumps and silly dialogue and being set in Seattle. The plot jumps were more or less untimely and unexplained character development. Characters quickly change their mind about “hard limits” (literal and metaphorical) with little to no explanation. Not your movie for in-depth characters. The dialogue was a little choppy, despite some of its entertainment value, it felt a little forced (dear god the puns are real). I am so tired of Seattle being the ideal hipster paradise. It is over used and I am just done with it.
Would I recommend it? I am going to have to find a movie that I wouldn’t recommend but frankly I like movies for the experience, and like I said before this movie is unique. There is a fair amount of nudity(obviously) and personally I did not find the female lead very attractive (especially with those bangs) but again worth seeing. It is not necessary to see it in theaters but it is worth checking out. The acting was descent so it is not a complete waste of time, it is however over two hours so keep that in mind when deciding how much your time is worth to you.