Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson
Alright, I confess I went to the movies and saw Fifty Shades of Grey and you know what? It wasn’t as scandalous and bad as everyone made it seem.
Before I saw the movie, I had low expectations. Could it really be worse than the sex scenes we see on HBO? Just because Fifty Shades of Grey is about a woman’s sexual awakening doesn’t automatically mean it’s bad. The representation of BDSM may be inaccurate but the movie never claimed to be fact. If anyone is interested in dominance/submission they should do their research. Watching this movie doesn’t count.
It seems people have been mixing up the book and movie. This review won’t be completely defensive because there are some weaknesses, but one positive factor overcomes everything people have been saying about the movie: and it’s a spoiler. If you want to keep reading, beware. This review is covered in spoilers.
Here we go:
Fifty Shades of Grey may be about sex but it doesn’t expose audiences to more than what television shows have revealed. There’s a tasteful covering of the nether regions so don’t worry (or worry) about seeing Christian Grey or Anastasia Steele’s private parts. The camera rolls smoothly over different body parts and the sex scenes are choreographed perfectly so a hand or underwear covers anything that could be displayed.
Another strength is dealing with the level of roughness Christian puts on Ana. He goes easy on her for her first few times and she’s completely willing throughout the movie. We never heard her utter a safe word that had been established before any sex occurred. Now, it’s been a long time since I read the books so I’ve heard people online complain that Christian ignores her pleas to stop. In the movie, this doesn’t happen.
Last but MOST IMPORTANTLY, the movie ends with Ana telling Christian she’s had enough. The scene ends as she heads into the elevator. He tries to follow her but she yells, “Stop. No.” and guess what? He doesn’t follow her in. The elevator doors close. Exit Ana. This was done well for the movie because it shows that Ana is not a weak character. She knows her limits and we could go on to believe that she has nothing to do with Christian ever again. This isn’t true based on the books but if Fifty Shades of Grey was to end there and have no more sequels after this, this would be a good standalone movie.
There are some factors to be considered into rating the movie as a B. For example: Christian Grey’s character. He is manipulative and a control freak. He spends the movie trying to get Ana to sign his contract so he can control every aspect of her life: how much she drinks, eats, and must see a doctor of his choosing to be put on birth control. When Ana tries to negotiate with Grey, he teases her by touching her body so she wants more. Before he does anything else, he asks her to say yes to him, to give him control.
Like I mentioned before, Grey is a control freak. He meets her once and decides to get involved in her life. He stalks her by showing up at her work and then a bar because she called him while drunk. He even shows up unannounced in her bedroom with wine to persuade her to say yes to his contract. He buys her a laptop because hers is broken and sells her old Volkswagen without asking if she would be interested in having a new car.
There’s nothing wrong with letting Ana be exposed to Christian’s sexual preferences, however, it is important that people understand that what goes on in Christian’s “red room of pleasure” may not be portrayed accurately. Watching Fifty Shades of Grey may pique some peoples interest of BDSM but please do your homework before partaking in it. The movie isn’t a masterpiece, but it shouldn’t be criticized so harshly because it’s a little lighter than the book. Personally, I wouldn’t hope for a sequel because it had a strong ending. It sets a good example that if you’ve had enough, just say no and walk away from a harmful relationship.