Fifty Shades of Grey

"Very Good"

Fifty Shades of Grey Review


After all the hype, it's impossible not to expect steam from this adaptation of E.L. James' mommy-porn bestseller, but the average episode of Red Shoe Diaries is friskier than this movie. Still, it's a well written and played drama, building an unusual romance with a series of scenes that are sometimes sexy but never actually transgressive. And the nicest surprise is that in the hands of director Sam Taylor-Johnson it becomes a witty tale of female empowerment.

It's set in the American Northwest, where Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is finishing her studies as an English literature major when she's asked by her journalist roommate Kate (Eloise Mumford) to interview Seattle's most eligible bachelor, billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Ana's awkwardly confident approach immediately gets under his skin, and he pursues her as if she's a corporate acquisition, complete with non-disclosure agreements and a contract that would make her submissive to his dominant. But she isn't so sure about all of this, and as she falls for him, she begins to make him break his own rules. Of course he thinks she should be punished for that.

Essentially, this film is mere foreplay, as the push and pull between Ana and Christian cycles through various set-pieces on the way to an ending that is clearly designed to get fans in a lather for films based on the second and third novels in the trilogy. And the studio would be wise to keep Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr Banks, another story of male-female control) on board, as they have clearly beefed up James' novel with a strong dose of wry humour, bringing out the deeper themes rather than focussing on the under-developed plot and characters.

Johnson has terrific presence as Ana, feisty and most definitely never dominated, and watching her discover herself is fascinating. Dornan is sexy and intriguing, and has great chemistry with Johnson, but there's nothing much to Christian aside from a dark childhood. Like Ana, we need to know why he wants to indulge in sadomasochism, or at least what he gets out of it, but the character remains stubbornly opaque. Is he really falling for her, or for the idea of her? In this sense, the film's sex scenes feel vacuous and rather pointless, and certainly never provocative because the deeper ideas are never grappled with. The film only holds our interest because Taylor-Johnson keeps the focus so tightly on what's happening within Ana's head, and Johnson does a great job of letting us see her mind spinning. Hopefully there's somewhere interesting for her to go from here.


Fifty Shades Of Grey Extended Trailer

 



Fifty Shades of Grey

Facts and Figures

Genre: Romance

Run time: 20 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 7th April 2013

Budget: $40M

Production compaines: Trigger Street Productions, Focus Features, Michael De Luca Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Producer: , , Dana Brunetti

Starring: as Anastasia Steele, as Christian Grey, as Carla, as Kate Kavanagh, as Elliot Grey, as Jose Rodriguez, as Jason Taylor, as Mia Grey, as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, as Ray Steele

Also starring:

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