‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
Review

by Mitch Burns


Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnsonfifty_shades_of_grey_ver5

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden, Eloise Mumford, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, and Max Martini

Welcome to my Red Room, where I punish you. Wait, it was me who was punished, I’m the one that sat through ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

If you’re reading this, I can tell you right now to save yourself some punishment by skipping ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, and if you are in to this kind of punishment, then I can only assume you are reading the wrong website.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’is based on the book written by E.L. James, it centers around Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a 21-year-old graduate of Washington State University. When Ana(stasia)’s roommate/friend Kate (Eloise Mumford) falls ill, Ana agrees to interview Billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Christians brother Elliot (Luke Grimes) is dating Ana’s roommate Kate, a storyline that adds absolutely nothing to the plot.

During Ana and Christians interview, Ana becomes quite smitten with Christian, although intimidated by him. They meet up a few more times, Christian seems reluctant to pursue Ana, but still seems interested. Ana eventually drunk dials Christian one night at the bar, and he brings her back to his place. Ana passes out, Christian undresses her and puts her to bed. Yes, he undresses her against her own will, the first of many rape-like moments.

It’s obvious the two like each other, and a relattionship begins to form. Christian eventually tells Ana that he is not interested in a romantic relationship, only a sexual one. Ana tells Christian she is a virgin, where he remarks with lust in his eyes “Where have you been?”. The looks in his eyes is dispicable, Christian Grey has hit the jackpot,  because He’s a pig that wants his women to be virgin saints that he can taint at his own will, until he is done with them.

Christian eventually shows Ana to his “Red Room”, his “play room” filled with whips, ropes, cable ties, swings, and more objects to be used in bondage or S&M-like situations. Ana is taken aback by this room, she doesn’t know what half of these items are, or even how they would be used.

Christian asks Ana to enter a relationship with him, a relationship that would involve Ana signing a non-disclosure agreement and a contract stating what Christian is allowed and not allowed to do to Ana. The contract states Ana would move into Christians house, but never sleeping in the same bed as him. The contract contains everything Ana would be tied with, from rope to tape, it contains the sexual acts that would be performed, how often and more.

If you can’t tell, Christian Grey needs complete control, over everything, including his women, and especially what happens in the bedroom. He even wants control over what Ana eats and drinks, basically he’s worried she’ll get fat, and if she does then the contract is void.

It’s caveman thinking, Christian Grey isn’t far from clubbing Ana and dragging her back to his cave. Oh but wait, he’s happy when she has some qualms about the contract. They have a business meeting to discuss the contract, and she rules out a few items, such as anal and vaginal fisting, but yet still doesn’t sign it. To sweeten the deal, Christian says once a week he will take her out on a proper date. WOW, what a gentleman.

I’m going to back away from the sexism and misogyny for a moment, and look at ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ as a film. Is it a good film if you can get past the films degrading themes?

No.

Fifty Shades of Grey’ is honestly boring, never would have thought a film with subject matter like this would be so bland. The films only moving plot point is whether or not Ana will sign the contract laid out by Christian. For much of the film, the two of them run around like a proper couple, meeting each others parents (Hers: Jennifer Ehle and Callum Keith Rennie, His: Marcia Gay Harden and Andrew Airlie), they go one dates, helicopter rides, but yet Grey wants nothing to do with this type of relationship. It doesn’t make much sense at all, he’s an extremely frustrating character, and completely unlikable.

Dakota Johnson, who plays Anastasia, tries her best, she plays shy and meager well, sadly she plays a character that is quite naive, and rather stupid. Unfortunately, Jamie Dornan, who plays Christian Grey, is basically a robot. They could have replaced Ian Holm in “Alien”, and had Jamie Dornan play Ash. I understand he’s most likely meant to be cold and robotic, but Dornan isn’t a good actor, and it’s quite obvious.

The connection between Johnson and Dornan is flaccid, not a spark to be seen. A likeable pair of actors in the lead roles could have given ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’  a fighting chance in the same way Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone made both “Amazing Spider-man” movies almost watchable. I’m fairly confused, Anastasia clearly seems to hate Christian in many scenes, It’s an absolute look of hate and disgust in her eyes at times.

Marcia Gay Harden and Jennifer Ehle, who I quite enjoy, are terribly underused, but I don’t begrudge them for taking a quick paycheck. It’s Max Martini that I feel bad for, who had a large role in 2013’s “Pacific Rim” and was, at a time, considered to play Batman in the upcoming “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”. Martini is reduced to playing Christian Grey’s driver/bodyguard, and has just a few lines of dialogue.

I don’t want to pin much of the blame on director Sam Taylor-Johnson, because I want her, and other female directors to continue working. She works with what she has, which isn’t much, but hey, the movie looks good. The script is terrible, and the dialogue is atrocious, lines such as “I’m fifty shades of fucked-up” and “I don’t make love. I fuck… hard”, shouldn’t be in a script if you want your film to be taken seriously. I think we can blame Author E.L. James for most everything here.

I’m giving ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ a D-, why not an F? Well, two reasons:

One: I enjoyed this back and forth

Christian Grey: It’s just behind this door.

Anastasia Steele: What is?

Christian Grey: My playroom.

Anastasia Steele: Like your Xbox and stuff?

Two: I had some laughs over the “Business Meeting” scene.

I hope you skip ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, ideals such as the ones displayed in the films are detrimental to our society. Anyone who stands for gender equality should not be a fan of Christan Grey.

Grade: D-


Thanks for Reading!

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