*SPOILER ALERT* If you have not read Fifty Shades of Grey, the book, or already seen the movie, please be aware that there will be spoilers throughout the entire review.
Going to see Fifty Shades was a very last minute decision for me. I've never reviewed the book on this blog or any other blog for that matter, but many of you may know that I did not love the book. While I found it intriguing and at times was sucked in by the intensity of the story, I did not find it to be a good book for many reasons that will have to be saved for another post or some discussion later on.
With that being said, you all should know I'm a book-to-movie junkie in the worst way and I literally couldn't resist the opportunity to review this movie upon its release. I had a lot of preconceived notions about the movie going into it but then again, who didn't? Whether you thought it'd be good or bad or were waiting to see it to deem it worthy of watching, we all had expectations. I can honestly say, Fifty Shades of Grey The Movie was not what I expected. It was slightly better than I would have guessed, but I think that's because I disliked the book so much and I expected to absolutely abhor the movie. To the contrary, at times it was enjoyable (though at other times somewhat unenjoyable(... just not what I expected.
Let me point out before I delve any deeper that I do have some issues with the plot, the characters, etc., of the book since before making it into a movie was even a thought. Here are the things I didn't like about the movie that are not attributable to the actual movie, but to the book itself:
Christian is a little bit of a psycho and watching that come to life on the big screen was creepier than ever. I think I could totally be into Christian as a character and even root for him if his brokenness was more a focus than his possessiveness. It was just too much and that wasn't Jamie Dornan's fault. I blame E.L. James.
It's hard to disagree with people who think the book/movie promotes or glamorizes domestic abuse or at the very least, unhealthy relationships, when you watch how Christian manipulates Ana and uses her, leaving her a crying, hurting mess because he wants his to have his way or else.
To clarify, do I personally agree that this movie promotes domestic abuse? Not necessarily unless you consider the fact that it's been made into a huge movie as "promoting" in which case, every movie ever depicting something bad has been promoting that bad thing, yes? No, obviously not - I'm being sarcastic - but what I'm trying to say is that if you've read the book or even pay close enough attention to the movie, you'll see that Ana does eventually stand up for herself (so what if it's after a particularly bad scene that had me holding back tears? Whatevs). I think the movie (if not so much the book) clearly shows that Christian's manipulation and obsession isn't a good thing - it hurts Ana, he hurts Ana, and there's nothing glamorous about it. In either event, though I don't think the movie promotes or glamorizes domestic abuse, I still think E.L. James wrote us a creepy little character that is Christian Grey and I really wish he was less of an obsessive control freak maniac and more of that broken vulnerable Christian we see at the end of the movie because... yum.
Now, as far as the movie itself goes,
completely mostly separated from the book, here's what I thought:
Firstly, and above all, the most important (and my least favorite) aspect of the movie was the excessive amount of nudity. I basically took my 18-year-old sister to a soft core porn at the movies. Now, now, before you begin to rant at me for being dumb enough not to expect some nudity - remember, I did read the book. I expected nudity but I expected it to be just a tad more tasteful. I have the image of Dakota Johnson's breasts forever imprinted on my brain. I will never forget what that woman's nipples look like. And I'm not glad about it. I'm all for a good, hot sex scene, and in this case, I expected several good, hot sex scenes but really, poor Dakota! My sister and I overheard two girls says "Too much boobs! Not enough Jamie Dornan's ass!" after the movie let out, a statement with which I concur, but seriously, why so much breast, Fifty Shades? WHY?! There were just too many gratuitous boobie shots and I was sincerely hoping that the movie would take the book to the next level and make it less about the actual sex scenes and more about the intriguing world that is BDSM and the budding relationship between Christian and Ana. Needless to say, it did not, and I was disappointed in that regard.
Also, It really sucked that the script used lines directly from the book, or at least it seemed that way. I haven't read the book since the original Fifty Shades phenomenon a few years back so I can't say that with too much certainty, but the stilted, awkward delivery of the lines was enough proof to me that this was coming directly from the mind of E.L. James. It sucked. If there was ever a time I was hoping for a bit of artistic license in a book-to-movie adaptation, this was that time. Other parts of the movie flowed so well (thanks to Dakota Johnson,), but then we came to those lines and it felt like I was jolted right out of the story that I was actually beginning to enjoy and thus reminded of why I disliked the book so much.
Anyway, as uncomfortable as it was for me to watched poor married-with-a-child Jamie Dornan sticking his head between Dakota Johnson's legs while we are blessed with focus after focus of her naked breasts, I don't know that I could do it again. I'm completely content with Ana just leaving Christian's crazy ass and that being the end of the movie franchise because I don't know if I can sit through two more hours of this next year. Maybe if they promise less boob, because really, the novelty has to wear off at some point, right?
Now, I'm sure you're wondering if I liked anything at all about the movie and the surprising answer to that questions is: YES! There were actually a few high points and I, of course, will tell you all about them.
By far, the single best part about the movie was not having to be in Anastasia's head like we did in the book. If I had to sit through the movie listening to this chick talk about her "inner goddess" I probably would have walked out. Ana was a much more likable character without having to listen to the running commentary on her lady bits and "oh crap" and sighing and muttering every goddamn thing and oh my God I'm so glad we didn't have to listen to that nonsense. With all of that out of the movie, it was marginally better and much easier to watch than it was to read.
Might I add that Dakota Johnson is an amazing actress?! I was actually anti-Dakota Johnson at first. I remember seeing her on Jimmy Fallon the week before the movie premiered and I was just like, no. No, no, no, no, no! In my mind she was just not Ana but then she tripped her way into Christian Grey's office last night and I was hooked. She did the awkward so well, and as uncomfortable as the sex scenes were, she did them really well, too. Most of all, she was so funny. She was downright hilarious and I definitely think she brought the entire movie up a notch in my opinion. Jamie Dornan, who I adore in real life (that accent, though!) wasn't bad but he was no Dakota. That girl just really stole the show.
And as far as that last scene goes - you know the scene - the painful one where he's hitting her with some object in the Red Room of Pain and its like the worst moment of her life and the worst moment of their relationship by far... as horrible as it was to watch, I think it was superbly done and I was definitely holding back tears for Ana by the end. You already know how I feel about the abuse topic so I won't go there again but I will say, I am in no way, shape or form against BDSM. While being a Dom or a Sub may not be my thing, I respect that it is other people's thing. I actually found some of it kinda sexy, if not awkward to watch with my sister and a theater full of strangers.
RATING: ★★★ 1/2
So... 3 1/2 stars. Yup, I said it. It was pretty enjoyable considering what I'd originally expected it to be. So you want to know if it's worth seeing?
My answer is contingent upon your open-mindedness and how you feel about watching porn with strangers. LOL, just kidding... sort of.
If you've read the book and liked it or at least tolerated it enough to be curious about the movie - go for it, with the warning that you'll be seeing lots of Dakota-boob.
If you haven't read the book, I would only recommend seeing it if you are not a Judgy McJudgerton and just enjoy the movie for what it is. You don't need to go in with guns blazing, ready to fight for or against Christian and Ana and their sexual choices - because let me remind you, manipulating as Christian may have been, give Ana a little credit here. She enjoyed everything Christian did to her with the exception of the last scene. I understand and agree that it just wasn't what she was into, but she consented and was pleasured through all of it. The parts she hated were how Christian treated her outside of their time in his playroom and his obsession with her being his Sub rather than being in a relationship and BDSM just being something they did sometimes. So if you are okay with all of this, and really just curious about this "taboo" lifestyle and wanna see what all the hype is about - go for it.
If not, please, please wait for DVD or just don't see it at all. Let the people who like Fifty Shades enjoy the damn movie. If it's not for you, that's cool and I don't blame or judge you, but leave the rest of us here in the non-judgmental community alone.
Whew... Excuse me, I'm getting a little tired climbing on and off this soap box of mine. So anyway, now you know what I think and if I think you should go see it. Now go see it (or don't) and tell me what you think!!!