Whether you dislike it because of it’s misrepresentation of the BDSM scene, the fact that it glamorizes an abusive relationship, or just the fact that it was originally Twilight fan fiction, there are plenty of valid reasons to dislike the book Fifty Shades of Grey. However, it has become a massive success for no deserving reason, and has therefore spawned a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I had no intention of ever seeing this movie, but with a bit of prodding from my girlfriend, I tagged along. I decided, as someone with no prior exposure to the book or anything having spawned from Fifty Shades, I would enter the theater with a relatively open mind. Perhaps, as Hollywood can sometimes be prone to do, they would make enough changes to the story - or at least how the story is told - to salvage the movie so it wasn’t just the book on screen.
Surprisingly, they made it worse.
And I’m not even talking about content. As bad as the content is and as off-putting and stilted as the dialogue is, the movie fails at one of the key elements of telling a story: storytelling.
In the books, the story is played out from the perspective - and internal monologue - of lead character Anastasia Steele (feels like a cheesy romantic novel already). In doing so, the book manages to convey some very critical story elements that the movie fails to. The most important being exactly how infatuated and attracted Anastasia is to titular character Christian Grey.
This is VERY IMPORTANT. Without the context of exactly how much Anastasia wants Grey, there are many points in the movie where you question exactly why she’s willing to tolerate the nonsense that he does. You have no true frame of reference for her actions, and she comes off less like an infatuated lover and more like a complete idiot.
If you’re going to see this movie in the hopes that maybe the sex scenes will at least justify your money, you’re better off logging into PornHub or Redtube for the night. Dakota Johnson, who portrays Anastasia, reacts to literally everything as though she was orgasming every. single. time. It turns what I reckon is supposed to be a sensual scene into comedy gold.
Feather? Better moan and writhe around. Riding crop? Ditto. Ice cube? You know it. Actual sex? Same thing.
But this isn’t to fault the acting. The fact is, Johnson and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) do well with the material. The problem is the material. Dare I say that if it were based more on the book in some parts, it may have actually been a watchable movie. But because of some cringeworthy dialogue, ridiculous sex scenes, and a practical absence of actual story, not even the few moments of clever, funny exchanges could save this movie.
What are buttplugs, Ana? Let me tell you. This movie. This movie is a buttplug.