Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) – Film Review

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Well the excitement is over and Fifty Shades of Grey has arrived in cinemas around the globe.  Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson it stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Gray.  The film is based on the book of the same name by E L James which has sold millions if not billions of copies and has gained notoriety for its BDSM content.

Anastasia is a college student in her final year who steps in at the last minute for a friend who is ill for an interview with the billionaire business boy Christian.  There is an instant attraction between the two and it is clear that while Mr Grey is besotted with her he is reluctant to come clean about his very particular tastes.

I had the advantage of walking into this film with no expectations and having not read the book.  As such I  had not written this review before seeing the movie which is what I think has happened with some critics because some of the stuff I have read is incredibly harsh.  The key thing is expectations.  If you are expecting a kinky display of BDSM and a bit of a giggle then you are going to be sorely disappointed.  Fifty Shades is relatively tame and is played very much more like a straight romance.

I’m not saying this film is full of champagne and roses (because it isn’t) but because of her feelings for him she is trying her best to try and become a part of his world.  For his part he accepts the limits she places on the relationship and showers her with gifts to win her over.  The Christian Grey portrayed in the film is quite protective of Anastasia and doesn’t want to drag her into BDSM and is quite apologetic for the man that he is.

There was a lot of noise before Fifty Shades opened saying that it glamourised abusive relationships – clearly these people hadn’t seen the film.  Anastasia is a stronger character than some reviewers would have you believe.  She quickly cottons on to the power she has over him and uses it to tease him through the second act of the film.  When she enters the relationship it is on her terms.  Without giving the end away when the relationship starts to go too far she stands up to him and says no.  How is that a bad message to send to girls / young women?

Sadly the film does have problems.  The main one is a lack of intensity whether it be in the chemistry in the leading pair or in the more intimate scenes.  From what I have been told the books are not well written and some of the dialogue has been carried directly into the film.  It really stands out when this happens.  While Mr Dornan isn’t terrible he is a bit monotone in his performance and it does appear to take him some time to nail down that American accent.

In summary my recommendation is to go into this film expecting a romance with scenes of a more adult nature.  It will disappoint hard core fans of the book but it is better than many are giving it credit for.  My rating 3/5.

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