Fifty Shades of Grey has to be one of if not, the most hotly anticipated films of 2015. With a Valentines weekend release date, whether the film was bad or not, their campaign and release date alone would have made enough money to go ahead and redeem themselves with a sequel/trilogy. Without having read the book and going by hearsay on how dirty and explicit the book is but also terribly executed through bad writing, one could only expect the film to be just as bad resulting in just a dirty old porno on the big screen. With this in mind, a lot of those who thought that have come out disappointed, but those looking beyond that point of dirt and explicitly, you’ll actually find a really good film.
Based on a Twilight fan fiction, Fifty Shades of Grey introduces you to Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a literature student, who conveniently happens to be a virgin, who’s life is changed when she meets billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) who essentially has a dirty little secret.
Bella and Edward’s Twilight stench is written all over Christian and Ana. It’s very familiar, sometimes a little too familiar but this is mostly at the beginning of the film where they meet and can’t keep their eyes off of each other. But even certain scenarios that happen are too similar to Twilight such as her friend José who seems like the Jacob Black kind of character, Ana being saved by Christian from getting hit by a car, and the plain fact that he can’t help but to be around Ana, quite like how Edward couldn’t stay away from Bella. Given the circumstances, Edward’s reasons seemed a bit more legit than Christian’s but you just have to deal with it. Christian is very straight forward like Edward, he doesn’t really say much and has the same sort of painful facial expression. He’s also adopted. Ana is the vulnerable girl who is in love but is very inquisitive and wants to be with this man of mystery. So essentially this whole story is a more grown up version of Twilight.
After getting all of that out of the way and really stripping the film down, Johnson’s Ana is a very a strong female lead. Entertainment wise, she has a repertoire of great one liners and comebacks which will make you giggle in agreement. Ana does display some control, even though she becomes his “submissive”. Her projections of vulnerability and solid resistance is very compelling and done so well. She doesn’t give in too easily nor straight away and builds her own compromises with Christians requests. He may be the “Dominant” but it’s to her terms. You really get to see this through one of the best scenes in the film where she has a “meeting” with Mr Grey to discuss the contract to their relationship and to object to certain activities. The on screen chemistry is just simply perfect there. She’s also the character for the audience, seeing Christian and the whole romance/relationship through her eyes, ultimately probing about his past and why he is the way he is. We want to know as much as she does. She also demonstrates how powerful the word “no” can be.
Dornan’s Christian as mentioned before is very inexpressive, quite cold and very straight forward, but given the circumstances, it’s acceptable. It’s when he begins to open up to Ana in ways he specifically explains in the beginning that he doesn’t engage in, his character starts to break in and this is done in a very subtle way, giving the film a bit of a balance. The awkward attempt of calling Ana “baby” is definitely one of Dornan’s high points and it’s Ana’s inquisitive nature and ability to rebel is what attracts Christian, not just her submission. What really gets to you is his eyes. That’s the main point of contact, communication and wonder, through Dornan’s eyes.
Easing into the film’s main point of focus, the sexual boundaries of pain and pleasure, it’s actually not as bad and explicit as expected. It takes about a good 30 – 40 minutes into the film before anything actually happens and it’s not a lot either. It’s done in a very tasteful and erotic way building the intensity without the need for a bunch of full frontals and weird pornographic angles and moans. Although the shots mostly focus on Johnson, Dornan’s dominance was dominant enough to keep the audience engaged with his actions rather than the camera straying down south. These principles also applied to the infamous Red Room of Pain.
To top it all off, the costume designs worked so well for each character especially Christian Grey and we’re graced with a really seductive yet awesome soundtrack featuring The Rolling Stones, Ellie Goulding, Beyoncé, Awolnation, Annie Lennox, Danny Elfman and much more. It’s such a pleasing soundtrack to listen to and really suits the film.
All in all, it was better than expected, cleaner than expected and more enjoyable than expected. Slick, tasteful, witty and seductive, Twi-hards eat your heart out.