Evangeline Holland

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June 5th, 2015 by Evangeline Holland

On Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

Fifty Shades of Grey

It’s sacrilege in Romancelandia to like–or even love–Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s supposed to represent the worst stereotypes about the genre, it glorifies abuse, yadda yadda yadda.

Burn my Romland Membership Card because I love the trilogy and won’t apologize for it.

I hardly ever go to movies, since I hate movie theaters, but I would have gladly seen the film adaptation if my school year hadn’t run away with me. But I have a phone and a Google account, and renting the film was pretty inexpensive!

My reaction: reluctantly meh.

It was nice to watch, and I laughed at the scenes that made me laugh in the book (that were included in the film), but…

I know it will come as a shock anti-FSoG people, but there was too much sex. And it wasn’t all that well filmed or acted. The script is fairly faithful to the book–we get Ana falling into Christian’s office, the drunk dailing, the Charlie Tango flight, the Georgia trip. However, there was little pulse; the script was very perfunctory in following the plot points, thus missing many of the little funny, tender moments that made me love the books.

A major reason for this disconnect is likely the attempt to give both Christian and Ana’s a POV. My greatest enjoyment of the trilogy is the story of Ana’s self-exploration and growth. Yes, Christian and his dark past and initiating her into his kink is the catalyst, but the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy is her story through and through. The screenwriter read the book all wrong, and ultimately erased both characters’ inner lives from the script in an attempt to–I assume–give the audience what she assumed they wanted (Christian! woohoo!).

I expected a lot from the director, since it was a woman, and though Taylor-Johnson did a good job, it was just that–good. This film needed sensual and moody textures. Not only did it feel like she was mimicking the look of Twilight films at times (ironic, I know), but where was the opulence?! A major part of Fifty Shades of Grey–and Christian himself–is the dazzling wealth. Where is Nancy Meyers when you need her? I can only imagine how sumptuous and gorgeous the sets would have looked under her lens.

The biggest failure of the film is Jamie Dornan. Dakota Johnson nailed Ana, but Jamie completely failed her and the character of Christian Grey. The scenes that were supposed to be emotionally intense merely consisted of stares. And ugh…his detachment is the number one reason why the sex scenes fell flat. Dakota looked like she was hoping that by throwing herself into them, it would jog a little engagement from Jamie, but to no avail.

But really, I am side-eyeing his tantrums and moaning over the part so hard after watching the film. The BDSM scenes were quite brief–two minutes of riding crops or being tied up or spankings to about five minutes of sex; most of the shots were of Ana’s body and reaction–so his melodramatic whining about feeling soiled was just that: melodramatic. And I actually got mad watching his non-performance because there were a few moments that showed how great he could have been as Christian Grey if he hadn’t had a stick up his butt!!!

I didn’t hate the film, but I can kind of see why E.L. James would want a little more control over the next films. But I’ll watch them and probably buy the DVDs for my collection since I have a thing about finishing/completing things.

Grade: B-/C+