Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Review
A lackluster story, boring dialogues and unbelievable characters. Welcome to my Fifty Shades review series!
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, Victor Rasuk, Max Martini, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Andrew Airlie, Jennifer Ehle, Anthony Konechny & Callum Keith Rennie.
Run Time: 128 min.
US Release: 13 February 2015
UK Release: 12 February 2015
German Release: 12 February 2015
It’s finally done... the review I was dreading to write the last three years is finished! Given the fact that this terrible series is ending (HOPEFULLY!!!) this year, I decided that it is time to finally put it online. Back in 2015 I had a semi-finished review for this piece of crap but had real difficulty finishing it, as I didn’t know how to finalise my review of this utterly boring picture. Well, three years later I finally managed to do what I thought would be impossible.
Fifty Shades of Grey was released during the Valentines week of 2015, and is the adaptation of E.L. James’ first horrible Twilight fanfiction book. I went into a screening, three days before Valentines ‘15, with an open mind and hoped to be surprised but left the theatre with even my lowest expectations shattered. This movie is aimed at a younger female demographic, who want to see exciting sexual escapades of a young girl that gets pulled into the world of a powerful and rich man. While it is exactly that what it has to offer, it displayed it in the worst way possible.
— WARNING, THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS! —
Anastasia Steele (Johnson), a literature student, goes to interview the wealthy business mogul Christian Grey (Dornan) as a favour to her roommate and journalist student Kate (Mumford). What starts off as a monotonous interview turns quickly into a get-to-know talk, with Mr. Grey finding comfort in the naive Ana. When both keep bumping into each other afterwards, Christian confesses that he wants her but on his own terms. Once Ana discovers his exceptional taste in pleasure, she hesitates to follow her lust.
I read the first fifteen-to-twenty pages of the book when it was released and I wasn’t impressed one bit, with the literary quality being poor and lacking talent. So I was naturally interested to see how this motion picture would polish the story up but sadly I saw no difference at all. This is an incredibly dull film with nothing happening in it! Granted the sex scenes are there and could be described as piquant, though that is also the biggest problem of the plot! Grey, who is a sadist no matter how much he denies it, pretty much forces himself on Anastasia, who is intimidated by him and does what he tells her to do. This is pretty much a two-hour soft porn about emotional and sexual abuse.
As if the boring plot wouldn’t be enough, the audience is also being punished with the dreadful dialogue, which is completely unnatural and sickeningly cheesy. I know no one who speaks like the characters in this movie, especially when talking to someone they like. It is off-putting, wooden and absolutely passionate-less, which is a no-go for a romance flick. I also never heard worse sex talk than I did in this, making me physically cringe.
This brings me to my next point: the characters. Apart from the fact that none of them feel like real persons, I took issues with the full names of the main characters. For the record; Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey sound like porn-star stage names, totally absurd in a scenario that is supposed to be playing in the real world!
Dakota Johnson is at least tried to make the best out of the script she was given, and she does manage to break through, from time to time. Sadly, though, her role as Anastasia Steele gets in the way of a good performance. Steele is a disgrace for a female lead; she is weak minded and lets Christian boss her around, even though she protests at first. That is what angered me about the Fifty Shades of Grey, as it tells the story of a grey-mouse who finds the love of her life and grows emotionally and psychologically, even though she is still heavily dependent on the male counterpart. It is completely contradicting as a message!
Jamie Dornan was atrocious. He is distanced, cold and stares at Anastasia like a true psychopath. Dornan gave one of the stiffest performances I have seen an actor give. I am aware that it is not his fault but the way the character was written, and Christian Gray is, in fact, one of the worst I saw in a picture. He constantly contradicts himself by saying to Ana to stay away from him because he isn’t good for her, yet in the next scene he stalks her and tries to seduce her again.
Seamus McGarvey, director of photography, did get the best out of this film visually. I need to confess that cinematographically this is a very good-looking film, containing crisp and sharp images. The colours are sterile but suit the tone of the plot and the lighting is superb. Sadly, since nothing happens storywise, the cinematography - as nice as it looks - ends up feeling as boring as the script itself. Then there is the music, which is as un-inspirational as its written counterpart. It depends primarily on pop and electro covers of popular songs, to enhance the bland sex scenes.
Verdict: Fifty Shades of Grey is one of the worst romances I have seen on the silver screen, containing a poor plot and script that romanticizes female submission. The first hour is absolutely dull and when Mr. Grey finally decides to show Ana his BDSM playroom, the sex scenes manage to kill the rest of the mood. The characters are boring and ridiculous; Anastasia being one of the worst female leads I have seen in a movie, not having any sort of self-respect and Christian Grey bordering on being a freaky psychopath. The only good aspect this flick has is its cinematography, although the story even manages to drag that into forgetfulness. I don’t know what Hollywood expected because, in all honesty, you can’t make gold out of crap. As I said in my Top 10 Worst of 2015, this is the movie I hated most and I stand by my 2.0 out of 10 rating.
Look out for my review of Fifty Shades Darker, leading up to this year’s Fifty Shades Freed. Thank you for reading my review and leave a comment below if you wish.