Rating: 2.5 out of 5
I just want to say that I deserve so much gratitude for taking one for the team and watching this movie, which we all expected to suck. Well, suck it did, but at least not as badly as I thought it would. Three cheers for super low expectations!
To better explain my rating, I thought that I would break each element of the film down and grade it individually. There’s so much discuss, so let’s get right to it!
The plot: C+. I’m not going to summarize Fifty Shades of Grey here, because if you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of years, then that’s not my fault. Although I have not fully read the series, given how crappy it is, I knew that this movie was the first of a trilogy. This didn’t stop me being disappointed with how and where the film ended. Many viewers may feel that there was nothing redeeming about Anastasia and Christian’s relationship, but I felt that it should have left hints of reconciliation since they end up married with children at the end of it all. Unfortunately, the cut-off point just gives the viewer a bad taste in her mouth.
The casting: B. I give Dakota Johnson a lot of credit for doing well despite the poor source material. Everyone has been saying that Ana is much more likable on screen than in the books, and I commend Dakota for giving her character a personality. Jamie Dornan, on the other hand, is a better model than he is an actor, and I couldn’t stop staring at his expressionless, rapist-esque face and wish that Ian Somerhalder had been cast instead. Dakota looked great, but Jamie ironically looked too vanilla for such a kinky bad boy role.
The dialogue: D. Holy crap. No seriously, holy crap, as in any college student who utters that phrase, or any other PG-rated terms, shouldn’t be participating in BDSM. The conversations were so stilted and awkward that they detracted from the erotic mood. The lines were funny without meaning to be, and they were just a reminder of how ridiculous E.L. James’ writing is. At least the inner goddess monologue wasn’t included!
The sex: B-. I feel that the sex scenes were more visually appealing than emotionally, meaning that they superficially portrayed two attractive white people, but they didn’t focus on real pleasure. I knew that the film wasn’t going to be that explicit since there was no full-frontal male nudity, but I enjoyed the consensual scenes in the playroom. Is the sex an accurate and healthy depiction of BDSM? Absolutely not. Was it sexy at times? Sure, although I think true FSOG fans should find an X-rated adaptation instead if they’re looking for something more hardcore.
The music: A+. Hands down, the best part of this film was its soundtrack. The songs appropriately fit each scene, and they were diverse across genre. From the modern twists on old-school classics, like Annie Lennox’s version of “I’ve Got a Spell on You” to the club tracks of The Weeknd, everything worked harmoniously. And how sexy was Beyonce’s remix to “Crazy in Love?!” I’ve been playing it on repeat for days!
Bonus…The literary courting: F-. So, first off, Christian is super condescending when he asks English major Ana which author made her fall in love with literature, whether it was Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, or Thomas Hardy. He assumes Austen, because he’s being sexist, and she surprises him by answering Hardy. To court her, he sends her a first edition of Tess of the d’Urbervilles, to which I demand: WTF?! That has got to be the WORST choice to woo a woman. Is nobody going to point out that the novel was about a RAPE?! Spoiler alert: Tess is raped by Alec, and it ends with her murdering him in revenge and being sent to prison for her crime. If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is!
Overall, unless you’re a massive FSOG fan, you’re better off saving your time and money. Check out the soundtrack, but don’t bother watching this movie. The production is such a train wreck: the actors despise one another, and the director most likely won’t do the sequels because she hates the author so badly.
You want to watch a great love story featuring some hot eye candy and smoldering sex scenes? Hop on the Outlander bandwagon! There’s even torturous flogging on that show too, just out of the bedroom where it belongs.