To be quite honest, 50 Shades of Grey is a movie that won’t get a fair shake from anybody. There will be fans of the book who will likely defend the movie without pause and people who have never even opened the book blasting the movie without ever watching it. Well, up front, I have never read the books but my wife has and she attended the press screening with me, so any questions I might have had were answered by her.
With that said, how was the movie in an unbiased opinion?
It is ok. There is nothing inherently wrong with the movie, and honestly the only people that will likely claim they hate the movie will have made that decision before ever watching it. However, it isn’t a great movie by any stretch of the imagination.
Anastasia Steele is a wallflower, and when the movie starts that is exactly how she dresses. Her roommate works for the university paper and was supposed to interview Christian Grey, a very rich man who will give the commencement speech at graduation. However, the roommate is sick so Anastacia goes to ask pre-written questions to Grey for the story. When she arrives, her shy demeanor and the way she bites her lip piques Grey’s attention. Her purity eventually send him over the edge.
Christian Grey wants Anastacia and what Christian Grey wants, he gets. He asks her out and charms her, but when he has her sign a non-disclosure agreement things get strange. When he presents her with another contract, this one a release form that states that he will be her dominant and she will be his submissive and partake in his masochistic desires, she starts to reconsider. This causes Grey to start to buy her love, getting her a new laptop, a brand new car, a helicopter ride to Seattle and more. The further she moves away, the more money he spends.
This is where the movie draws the line between Ana and Christian. Ana wants love. She was a virgin before Christian and wants someone to love her like a normal person would. Christian is “50 shades of fucked up” and doesn’t know how to love. He only knows how to control and dominate those he desires. The movie then turns into a battle of wills between the two sides, one looking for love and one who doesn’t know what true love even is.
50 Shades of Grey, the book, started out as Twilight fan fiction and there is a scene in the movie where that becomes crystal clear, with Ana meeting the dark, dangerous and irresistible Christian and him telling her that he is not what she needs. However, just like Twilight, the attraction and desire is too strong and they can’t stay apart. At the end of the day, this is a movie about female fantasies – and it is not the masochistic games that is that fantasy. The fantasy here is to meet a beautiful man, with loads of money and a dark secret, heading into the life of danger and pain, and wanting more than anything to change that man into what she needs.
A lot has been said about the sex scenes, which takes up about 20 percent of the movie. However, this is not a movie that really titillates. Like most mainstream movies, we get plenty of nudity from Dakota Johnson, although we only really see tits and ass. As for Jamie Dornan, we get butt shots and that is about it. The sex scenes themselves are very tame. Yes, there is the “unusual” sex using whips and bindings, but it is all shot in a classy way that shows almost nothing. This isn’t a Cinemax after hour’s movie.
Then, there is the end. There is little things more pleasurable than watching a theater full of people get something they never expected. It was clear that most of the people in the press screening had never read the book because the ending of the book and the ending of the movie are identical, ending with a cliffhanger that was more of a downer than anyone realized. It was a nice end that should get people interested in the sequels, which have already been green lit.
So, at the end of the day, 50 Shades of Grey is a movie that is not about love and lust. It is a movie about power, control and pain. The sequels will be more about Anastacia finally making the change that she desires, but this movie is about a man, who has been so messed up his entire life that he doesn’t understand how to show love and can only hurt those that he cares about. This is a movie about a woman who enters a life of danger and pain and somehow grows into something stronger by the end.
It isn’t for everyone, but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as people want you to believe.