Fifty Shades of Grey: Film Review


When the Fifty Shades of Grey books became popular in 2013, I had no interest in them whatsoever. Being a huge fan of the Twilight Saga, I had heard of Masters of The Universe (the original name of Fifty Shades) and knew that the books started out as Twilight fan fiction. The hysteria around the trilogy made me even less inclined to buy into them as they were basically advertised as smutty, pornographic novels for middle aged women to read on holiday. I think I'll pass, thank you.

However, when it was announced that the first book was going to be made into a film, the 'media trained' part of me became intrigued as to how it would be put together. Who would play Christian Grey? Who would direct it? Would it be rated 18? How would they incorporate a solid storyline? Then came the news that Jamie Dornan was cast as Mr Grey. And that's when I knew, deep down, as much as I didn't want to admit my excitement, that I'd probably end up going to watch it.

So on Tuesday, I went to the cinema to watch the most talked about film of the year. The film that has caused controversy, divided the nation and become the highest grossing film ever at the box office.. 

And I was pretty disappointed.

(WARNING: Contains spoilers and shameful swooning over Jamie Dornan)

After reading the majority of the first book, I didn't have high hopes. The basis of Fifty Shades is pretty classic; a woman (Anastasia Steele) falls in love with an attractive, rich, mysterious bachelor (Christian Grey). The only thing that separates it from most other films in the market is Christian's obsession with having sexual dominance over women.

From a film critic's point of view, the film in itself wasn't too bad. I loved the soundtrack, there are some amazing camera shots (the helicopter scenes) and it's clear that there was no expense spared in terms of costumes, props and sets. I just felt that there wasn't enough of a story to keep the film going. E.L James obviously hoped that people would be too distracted by the BDSM to realise that nothing remotely interesting actually happens. If there's no story, there's not much you can do with the film.

The most anticipated part of the film was the sex scenes. They were graphic, true to the book and the Dominant/Submissive theme heavily forms the foundation of the film. I know that a lot of people have criticised Fifty Shades for promoting sexual violence but personally, I didn't view it in that way at all. It was filmed as tastefully as something of that nature can be and you have to give props to Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan for putting themselves in those situations. However, even the intense focus on the sex failed to disguise the fact that the whole film is so boring. Most of it is set in the same location, the script was badly written (much like the book) and I spent most of the time laughing because of how cringe-worthy the dialogue was. I also noticed a lot of comparisons to Twilight which made the viewing experience even more uncomfortable.

Overall, I'd give it a 5 out of 10. I think Sam Taylor-Johnson did the best she could with such a weak concept and getting to stare at Jamie Dornan definitely made sitting through the awkwardness a little more bearable. But I won't be rushing out to buy the DVD, seeing it once was more than enough.

Let me know what you thought about the film in the comments :)

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