Now, before you all turn away from this blog post in disgust, first, let me say that I know all about the domestic violence/rape allegations that surround Fifty Shades of Grey. Also, that it was a fan fiction (that Kim got me onto years and years ago), and that E L James has essentially used Twilight characters to sell lots of books. I am well aware of all of this.

Yet I wanted to see the movie anyway – even if it was going to be terrible (in more ways than one). Plus, my best friend and I were having a girly weekend and she scored cheap tickets to the movies, so it seemed fitting, right?

Before I get to the panning stage of this review, I’d like to give a shout-out to the director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, who tried to turn the frankly plotless Fifty Shades of Grey into a credible film. The cinematography, subtle irony and awesome shots of Seattle all made this film a lot better than it could have been. God knows why Taylor-Johnson came anywhere near this franchise, but she did, and thankfully, because she managed to tone down the whole ‘isn’t Christian the perfect man?’ aspect of the story. She also emphasised safe sex, consent, the usage of safety words in BDSM and most importantly, Anastasia’s ability to walk away. Plus, the use of Beyonce’s song for one of the sex scenes managed to actually make one of the sex scenes sexy (more on that later).

The main problem with Fifty Shades of Grey though is that it tries to make a thoroughly disturbed man into ‘dream boyfriend’ material. Deeply flawed characters are not a new thing in fiction, and in fact, they are often the most entertaining, thought-provoking and complex characters around. Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter Morgan and Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert are two examples of very, very unappealing people whose minds we have entered and whose stories are largely unforgettable – yet the author never paints them in a light that makes them attractive.

This, unfortunately, isn’t the case with Christian Grey, and as much as Taylor-Johnson tries to make it an empowering film, at the end of the day, Christian gets pleasure out of hitting women. I could go into the (entirely valid) argument that Fifty Shades also does a disservice to the BDSM community, whose participants engage in their sexual activities for mutual pleasure and respect, but I won’t – instead, I just want to focus on the idea that Christian uses it as an excuse to physically and emotionally hurt the woman he is meant to love. And while fans of the book talk about redemption and having a scarred past etc. etc., at the end of the day, no person ‘needs’ to hit another human being, as Christian states in the film. So, essentially, even if everything else about the film was great, that alone would leave me with an icky taste in my mouth. Not to mention, as Ana’s mum points out, if someone isn’t making you happy, then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship with them (no matter how many billions of dollars they have).

Unfortunately though, the rest of all the film wasn’t great, in fact, it was boring. How a film that is at least 60% sex and 50% nudity (with both bushes proudly on display) could be boring is beyond me, but hey, Fifty Shades prove it’s possible. The sheer repetitiveness of the script meant that time and again we were back at the same spot, and Christian and Ana were having sex – again. Granted, I don’t find the main actor, Jamie Dornan, attractive at all, but regardless, a film needs to have some sort of tension or point in order for it to be entertaining. Conclusion, if you take away the frankly disturbing aspects of manipulation and control, Fifty Shades of Grey is less a proper film and more a poor version of porn. Yawn.

Don’t see Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s crap. There’s actually no other way to describe it. Doesn’t matter how many attractive people they’ve crammed into it; how many butts, boobs and bushes are shown in the sex scenes; or how many times Dornan’s abs are on show, this film is a flop. With lines like ‘I don’t make love, I fuck, hard’ and talk of anal fisting said with complete sincerity, it’s safe to say that this is a film that won’t last the ages.

I don’t usually do ‘stars’ per say, but for Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m giving one of out five stars – and that’s solely because Jamie Dornan wears some impressive suits – and not many men can pull off a sateen blue suit with aplomb.

Have you seen Fifty Shades of Grey? Did you read the book, or the fan fiction? Do you find Christian Grey attractive or are you disgusted, amused or bored by the whole thing? Let me know!

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