‘Fifty Shades’ film brave, original

Posted March 31, 2015


When “Fifty Shades of Grey” was released as a novel in 2011, British author E. L James could not have predicted the incredible wave of intrigue. With detailed sex scenes and an overall risky, erotic plot, the book became every woman’s guilty pleasure.

James realized the craze was here to stay and continued to write two more books, completing the “50 Shades” trilogy. The literary skills demonstrated in the book have been heavily critiqued but there is no denying the subject matter certainly generated a buzz, as has the recently released “Fifty Shades of Grey” film.

When the book arrived on the market, the feedback was generally positive. The book acted out dark fantasies and stood as a somewhat pornographic symbol, causing excitement among the public. As someone who read all three books in a matter of a couple of weeks, I must admit I was among those fans anxiously awaiting the announcement of who would be playing the infamous characters.

First, the controversial Christian Grey was cast. Irish actor, model and musician, Jamie Dornan, was slightly under the radar. Dornan had played a role in “Marie Antoinette” as well as a couple other roles for ABC and BBC Two series. Modeling for big name brands like Calvin Klein, Dior and Armani, there is really no doubt this man is attractive, having chiseled features as well as muscles, I believe he really had the potential to bring the character to life.

The leading lady led many, including myself to wonder what the casting directors were thinking. Cast as Christian Grey’s “submissive”; Dakota Johnson played the timid Anastasia Steele. Johnson has played quite a few roles in some well-known American films such as “The Social Network”, “Beastly”, “21 Jump Street” and “Need for Speed”, though how she landed these roles and especially the role of Anastasia is something I do not understand.

The rumors circulating the two actors about their off-screen hostility are, for me, easy to believe. Both have had previous experience, yet the acting and chemistry were simply terrible. The lines seemed awkward, the interactions were uncomfortable and the already tense scenes seemed exactly as they were… staged.

The acting was terrible, though I believe the directors held fast to the plot of the book. The original meeting at Christian Grey House was conducted perfectly, Ana arriving in place of her roommate to interview Grey, welcomed into his office by a string of perfect, bleach blonde assistants, tripping over the entry way, stumbling over her words, or rather the words her roommate has written for her, becoming only slightly more comfortable until Grey turns the question back onto her.

Progressing through the movie, Christian opens up and shows the audience his Red Room, filled with paddles, whips, cuffs, silk ties and all other types of sex toys. A few very steamy scenes, the actors may not be the best yet I do believe they were committed to their characters. Fully deserving the R rating, the actor’s bodies were on full display as they reenacted the tie-ups and whipping scenes.

Leaving out a few more erotic and probably overly inappropriate scenes for the theater, the movie progressed along the same lines as the book, though something simply was not right. Maybe because the acting was so awkward and the characters were difficult or uncomfortable to play, but Christian Grey comes off as a more of a pedophile, stalker in the film than he does as a sexually dominant, control freak.

The entire story is truly fantasy. The older, wealthy and attractive man with his own helicopter and endless resources falling for the meek, somewhat unattractive younger girl, showering her with gifts and trying to exercise full control over her. I think the movie taps into a lot of women’s secret fantasies, which is what made the story so popular in the first place, regardless of the terrible writing skills.

E.L. James brought to life a story that many are too afraid to write. Times are changing and sex has become a more acceptable topic of conversation but most people keep their little kinks and sexual quirks to themselves, whether is be out of fear of judgment or simply because it is not socially appropriate, it is natural for people to keep their sexual lives private.

The movie was truly like no other movie in theaters and for that I applaud the bravery and originality. The released timing was also perfectly planned, just in time for Valentine’s Day. The audience in the theater consisted almost entirely of couples or groups of girl friends, leaning much more towards a “chick flick” than anything else.

  • “Fifty Shades of Grey”
  • Released Feb. 13, 2015
  • Genre: Drama/ Erotic
  • Length: 2 hours and 5 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • Theaters: AMC Sunset Place: 5701 Sunset Dr., Suite 300, The Shops at Sunset Place, South Miami, Fla. 33143, 305-740-8904; afternoon and evening showings available; Cinépolis Coconut Grove: 3015 Grand Ave., Coconut Grove, Fla. 33133. 305-446-6843; Afternoon and evening shows available; Lejune Cinema 6: 782 NW 42nd Ave., #3, Miami, Fla. 33126, 305-529-8883; Afternoon and evening shows available.