Fifty Shades Of Grey is the film I never saw at the cinema, based on the book I never read. But then I don’t read books, anyway.
And I didn’t go to see it at the cinema because… well, a single man sat alone in a cinema watching a film about S&M? Especially in one of those cinemas which said they’d have plastic covers over the seats!
Englist Literature student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) goes to interview the successful businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), who’s apparently meant to be the hottest man ever created, and despite attempting to interview him, she hasn’t even got a tape recorder. But then again, she’s standing in for her roommate who was meant to be doing this, and will no doubt kick herself when she realises what she missed out on.
She’s attracted to his success, and he’s attracted to her innocence and clumsiness as she trips over on her entrance, not even stopping to give her a warm hand upon said entrance (ba-dum-tish!) It then turns into a late-night episode of Beverly Hills 90210 which has some slight amusing moments, but overall is incredibly empty and has some totally unsexy sex scenes. If you want that sort of thing, go on Pornhub!
You don’t see any of their downstairs bits and it’s immensely toned down compared to Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac and Gaspar Noé’s Love 3D. Still, it makes a change that a movie showing in mainstream cinemas actually shows a woman’s top half uncovered, since the media frequently show men’s chests, but never women’s.
I’m not sure whether some scenes are meant to be amusing: His mother, Mrs Grey, is played by Marcia Gay *Harden*, and when Christian pops into his local B&Q, just where Ana happens to work, to get some cable ties, rope and so on, but it made me laugh. Either way, it wasn’t in the least bit sexy. He acts like a disgruntled father, yet wants to have his wicked way with her. In addition, he’s ridiculously controlling. Why would anyone want to be with someone like that? Oh… because he’s rich! But even still, he comes across very creepy with his extravagant gifts.
It was amusing to learn that Grey got started in this because he was seduced by an older woman and he later wanted to reverse the roles. Which lad hasn’t been at school, for example, wishing a particular teacher would take advantage of them? That sometimes ends up in the press years later, and it makes me think – why the hell didn’t the lad keep his trap shut and enjoy what life bestowed upon him? I can’t speak for girls at my school and their feelings for male teachers – although I did know one who later married one of the teachers, so I could ask what went on in that dark room, but no, if it worked for them, then good. People should find happiness.
Due to scriptwriting differences, where director Sam Taylor-Johnson didn’t think an awful lot of the original dialogue (really? It was worse than “I don’t make love. I fuck… Hard.”?!), she quit working on the two sequels and was replaced by James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross).
Note: This review is just for the film only, and was for one of the films I was catching up with before the end of 2015.
Running time: 129 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Released: June 22nd 2015
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Producers: Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and EL James
Screenplay: Kelly Marcel (based on the novel by EL James)
Music: Danny Elfman
Anastasia Steele: Dakota Johnson
Christian Grey: Jamie Dornan
Carla: Jennifer Ehle
Kate: Eloise Mumford
José: Victor Rasuk
Elliot Grey: Luke Grimes
Mrs Grey: Marcia Gay Harden
Mia Grey: Rita Ora
Taylor: Max Martini
Ray: Callum Keith Rennie
Mr Grey: Andrew Airlie
Bob: Dylan Neal
Olivia: Elliat Albrecht
Andrea: Rachel Skarsten
Martina: Emily Fonda
Paul Clayton: Anthony Konechny
Mr Clayton: Bruce Dawson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.