Fifty Shades of Grey movie
Based on the book by E.L. James
Theatrical release date: February 13, 2015
Fifty Shades of Grey is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has been translated in 52 languages worldwide and sold more than 90 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever.
Stepping into the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, who have become iconic to millions of readers, are Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. Joining them in the cast are Luke Grimes as Christian’s brother, Elliot; Victor Rasuk as Anastasia’s close friend, José; and Jennifer Ehle as Anastasia’s mother, Carla. Fifty Shades of Grey is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside E L James, the creator of the series. The screenplay is by Kelly Marcel, with revisions by Patrick Marber and Mark Bomback.
Review: I had the events of the 2015 Valentine’s Day weekend planned from the moment I found out that Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James was going to appear on the big screen.
With my husband in tow, we headed to the movie theater on opening night for the late night showing of the film. It was amusing to listen to the buzz around us in the lobby. There was a lot of tongue-in-cheek bantering going on with grown adults talking about how they were going to watch the SpongeBob movie (wink, wink).
First and foremost, I have to admit that I am a book snob. I always like to read the book first and then use it as the measuring stick for the film adaptation. I have found that my imagination tends to create a better product because it is not limited by budget or the bounds of reality.
In fact, with all the hype leading up to opening weekend, there’s a small part of me that actually felt let down because of all the spoilers that had been posted on social media. Whether it was the scene from the hardware store or Ana’s first reaction to Christian’s playroom, I think it might have been a better experience if I had avoided the pre-show publicity.
I went into the film feeling somewhat neutral about the casting. I wasn’t completely convinced that Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson met my expectations of Christian and Ana. The more I watched, the more I liked Dakota in her role, although I would have much preferred her to have more meat on her bones. She was able to pull off the innocent look well, while still being able to infuse humor into her role. My favorite Ana moment was probably the contract review scene. As for Jamie Dornan, I didn’t feel the earth-shattering attraction that was evident when I read the book. I also couldn’t see a lot of chemistry between Jamie and Dakota. I don’t even have an alternative male lead in mind, but I know that Jamie didn’t match my mental image.
It was fortunate that the film version appeared to be free of those tiresome repetitions found in the book (Ana and her inner goddess, biting her lip constantly and the many references to Fifty). My initial concern about how a book of erotic fiction could successfully make it with an “R” rating and still tell the story proved to be valid. My preference would have been to go with the “NC-17” rating rather than watering down the story. Unfortunately, people unfamiliar with the series probably left the movie very confused because they couldn’t grasp the significance of Ana leaving Christian after the punishment scene.
All in all, it wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, nor was it the worst. Watching it with a crowd of strangers definitely prevented me from fully getting into the storyline because laughter at certain intense moments was distracting.
Fifty Shades of Grey had a difficult task before the opening scene. I don’t know of any film in recent memory that has polarized so many segments of our population. On one hand is the BDSM community complaining that the film doesn’t accurately portray the lifestyle. On the other hand is the conservative religious faction that is concerned that the film offers a ticket to abuse and sexual depravity.
For me, it was simply an opportunity to take my husband to a movie based on a book I had read. Was it perfect? No. Did I find things I wanted to change? You bet.
When all the hype has died down and the DVD pre-orders are counted, the soundtrack sales are reported and the affiliate merchandise (teddy bears, blindfolds, rope) totaled, we will all learn that E.L. James pulled off the same coup in the film industry that she did in the book industry.
Fifty Shades of Grey, whether print or film, has earned a spot on my keeper list not because of its impeccable quality (definitely not), but because it is a trailblazer. Now it is time to see what can happen when superbly written erotica from the likes of Sylvia Day, Lisa Renee Jones and Sylvain Reynard hits the big screen.