Fifty Shades of Grey review: Fifty Shades of blah, blah, blah
All talk, few results
Film: Fifty Shades of Grey
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Studio: Focus Features
Release date: Feb. 13
Fifty Shades of Grey is not bad, nor is it good; it is neither black nor white. It’s just grey.
This reviewer sat all alone on Valentine’s Day among loving couples to see the long-awaited release of the romantic-torture-porn-drama of the decade.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) and screenwriter Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks) premiered the film to thousands of fans over the weekend. Fifty Shades of Grey came out Friday andmade a record-setting $81.7 million over three days in its debut weekend, crushing records set by Valentine’s Day’s $63.1 million-grossing President’s Day weekend release, according to Variety.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is the controversial brainchild of author E.L. James.
The book seemed to spring into pop culture because it displays a fantasy of the innocent days of first discovering the power of sex.
The film stars Dakota Johnson (Anarchy) as Anastasia Steele, a seemingly timid college senior majoring in English literature with a 4.0 GPA. Her background remains unclear, however, as the exposition is hastily covered in the first 10 minutes.
There is a sense that her background simply doesn’t matter to the overall plot of the film.
She meets uber-wealthy, well-dressed and unrealistically charming Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan (The Fall). Christian takes a liking to Anastasia, and the feeling is obviously reciprocated.
But Christian has a deep, dark secret Anastasia must accept if she wants to continue seeing him.
The secret: Christian’s insatiable BDSM fetish.
This “secret” never truly feels like a secret, simply because the big reveal happens so quickly in the movie.
Therein lies the film’s biggest problem: the pacing.
At first the film seems very self-aware of where it is going – that is, it knows what the audience is waiting for: the torture-porn romance it’s known for.
It is in such a rush that our captains at the helm, Taylor-Johnson and Marcel, do not even for a second give us any real development to these characters besides the fact that Anastasia has a 4.0 GPA (and knows how to control a GPS, another laugh-inducing line).
After Christian lets Anastasia in on his fetish, the movie kind of just … stops.
If you read the book, however, you already knew that.
For moviegoers who were waiting to see what all the commotion was about, you’re in for an unsatisfying result.
Our two “heroes” talk, negotiate, play around and joke about Christian’s fetish until Anastasia finally submits (pun-intended) to his contract.
The problem is, it’s nothing.
By the time they actually get down to it, an hour and a half into the movie, you think to yourself, “Wasn’t this movie only supposed to be two hours?”
This entire controversial romance now only exists in two one-minute whip and chain scenes.
Then the movie just ends, with almost no resolve.
In the book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” E.L. James wrote the tale of a sadomasochistic romance between a simultaneously confident and insecure, wealthy businessman as he domineers a girl just discovering her sexuality.
To the film’s credit, both Dornan and Johnson are up to the challenge of bringing their novel counterparts to life and are fully committed to the raunchiness behind the book as it is translated to the big screen.
But the film lacks in emotional and psychological weight and, as a result, we only get “blah blah blah” and not much else to talk about.
It’s only average.