Fifty Shades of Grey
by Erica Ladd
For all of the anticipation and hype surrounding the film version release of E. L. James’ erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie was surprisingly dull. As a person who hasn’t read the popular 2011 best-selling book, I’ve certainly heard a lot about it (as most of us have) and had even read quotes from it online. Quotes like: “My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five year old.” and “I don’t make love, I f*ck. Hard.” From what little I knew, I was expecting the film to be silly, possibly shocking, extremely titillating, and/or hilariously bad. Unfortunately, it was none of these things.
The story focuses on Seattle college student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and her relationship with millionaire corporate executive and “World’s Most Eligible Bachelor” Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). They meet in his office where she has come to do an interview with him for her college newspaper. They are clearly both attracted to each other and afterward he pursues her, showing up at her hardware store part time job, agreeing to do a photo shoot for the school article and then inviting her for coffee. They start seeing each other and he asks her to enter into a contract where she lives with him on weekends and agrees to be his submissive sex slave. Now this may sound like some heady stuff but the onscreen rendering is almost (and inexplicably) uninteresting and, (can I call it this?), yes, boring. So much so that I couldn’t help looking at my watch periodically, wondering when the film was finally going to end.
The characters aren’t very engaging and the plot is your typical Harlequin novel type of fluff, (minus Christian’s proclivities and well-stocked “playroom” perhaps). A mousy, virginal college coed wins the attention of a handsome, wealthy, bad boy. She steals his heart and he finds himself doing things he’d never done before because she’s starting to change him, because she’s the one. Every woman’s fantasy, right? She wants to have a normal relationship, but oh, he may be too dark and damaged, and then after some sexy scenes with ropes and whips and blindfolds (which don’t happen until the latter half of the film), SPOILER ALERT: he hits her with a belt and she walks out. And yet, the film feels very bland. It could have been more entertaining if the filmmakers had left in some of Anastasia’s original (and ridiculous) inner dialogue from the book, but they chose to focus on the flimsy plot instead. If you’re into better erotic romance films I would suggest watching 2002’s Secretary. Or maybe even 1986’s 9 1⁄2 Weeks. This one is not worth your time.
Watch the trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey
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