ByJames Wood, writer at
Unabashed Transformers fan. Man crush on Tom Hardy. Avid fan of Tommy Wiseau's cult disasterpiece The Room.
James Wood

I have not read the books and I won't. I have heard nothing positive about them. I always predicted a film adaptation of this book would end up being a box office juggernaut. It has the curiosity factor, potential sex appeal and a wide fan-base, and also haters waiting in line to rip it apart. Ranking as one of the highest grossing films of 2015, Fifty Shades Of Grey was commercially successful but was a critical flop both with audiences and critics. I had to check it out, see what the fuss was and decide if it deserved its critical panning. Here goes!

Some would be too embarrassed, shy or ashamed to admit they liked or at least enjoyed a film such as this. I am not one of those people, if I like a film then that's it. Judge me all you like, there are some films that many hate that I quite like. This is another one.

Superbly shot, regularly amusing, nicely lit, a top notch soundtrack, well acted and with just enough flirtatious chemistry and banter, Fifty Shades Of Grey took me by surprise. I ignored all the negative buzz and reviews, blocked people out of my head and just sat back and watched it. My main criticism is aimed at the sex. There's not enough of it considering the themes and when there is naughty business, it never gets to levels of intense steaminess. These scenes barely register an 18 rating, I think that rating goes towards the inappropriate spanking and intense whipping end scene which must've been awkward to film.

The film also doesn't need to be 120 minutes plus, most scenes are just snogging, and a story this thin cannot sustain such an inflated length. What also annoyed me is the fact that one of my favourite singers, Rita Ora, was barely in this, she had one line and like 10 seconds of screen time, if that. Such a shame cause I want to see more of her acting ability.

With the negatives out the way, I thought Dakota Johnson was excellent. This is her most ballsiest, raw and brave performance, taking on a role that could potentially be career poison turned out to be something unforgettable and vulnerable.

I liked Jamie Dornan, playing it straight with deadpan delivery and seriousness, I didn't find any campy aspects and I thought he too was taking on a role many wouldn't dare. I don't think chemistry comes into play here, there's more desire and craving than there is chemistry between these two, and I liked that, although the scene where Ana discusses the contract at a "business meeting" with Christian, showed chemistry and some sly humour.

Supporting performances were fine, but there's no meat there. Actresses like Jennifer Ehle and Marcia Gay Harden were pretty much wasted, considering their talents it's a criminal waste, as with Max Martini and Luke Grimes.

If there is going to be a sequel, it needs to be more explicit and sexy, to earn that proper 18 rating. The story needs more meat, stray away from the books and make for an interesting side plots and twists then maybe the film could earn some brownie points. Maybe venturing down the thriller route would give the film more edge. However, one of the best things about this film is Ellie Goulding's Love Me Like You Do. That says a lot when a song is one of the highlights though, next time, new director, shorter runtime and more spice!


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