So I decided to treat my husband (then boyfriend) to a Valentine’s date at the swanky Cinema Prestige. Unbeknownst to him I opted for a late night screening of the film adaptation to author E.L James’ highly publicized first novel in the series.
Both he and I took our seats never having read the book. Truth be told, we have all become familiar with the media hype to some degree and I chose to go with an open mind & zero expectations. My partner, on the other hand, evidently was not looking forward to the experience as much as yours truly.
A slew of impressionable college girls, a handful of giggling middle-aged women and about four other couples were also present that evening. Their male counterparts anxiously gnawing away at buckets of popcorn, contemplating whether they should have come up with a “safe word” in objection to seeing Fifty Shades of Grey.
I must admit, I was instantly captivated as the opening credits rolled to Annie Lennox’s cover of “I put a spell on you”, which basically set the tone for what was to follow. Dakota Johnson seems slightly miscast as the mousy, inexperienced Anastasia Steele.
Her overall performance was awkward, uncomfortable (sex scenes especially) and just downright annoying. Despite always having been a fan, I was skeptical about Jamie Dornan landing the role of the secretly tortured, oh–so sexy business magnate, Christian Grey. However, as the film progressed his above average performance managed to win me over as effectively as his character ensnares the naive Ms. Steele.
Be prepared for more than a few jaw-dropping “ooh la la” moments as Christian seductively leads Ana down a dark path of exploration into his world of BDSM. Though there was no real chemistry between the two leads, I personally found Fifty Shades of Grey interesting in the sense that it touches on the psychological repercussions of emotional abuse and neglect during early childhood.
One becomes well aware that there is indeed more to this story than erotic sexual practices, pain, dominance and submission. Christian’s character evolves from borderline creepy to almost endearing and it becomes evident that beneath his steely, controlled exterior lies a rather broken man.
The screenplay tries hard to impress a clear distinction between the complex Mr. Grey and his doe-eyed “vanilla” love interest Anastasia Steele, which comes off as a little cliché. Overall, this type of film will sit well with die-hard fans of the book and those who are capable of reading between the lines.
Fifty Shades of Grey is the first of three planned movie installments and runs up about 125 mins of screen time. The score, in my opinion, was fantastic and is indeed one of this film’s saving graces.In conclusion, I left the cinema intrigued, confused, extremely flushed and surprisingly satisfied. Let’s call it a guilty pleasure. Worth a watch.