Sweeping multiple Razzies and receiving a huge amount of critical derision, Fifty Shades of Grey has to be among one of the most hated films of the 2010's. However, it is one of the highest grossing R-rated movies ever, only just been beat by Deadpool. I watched it recently and I really don't see why it has received such overwhelming hate. It has its problems, as all films do, some of which are jarringly obvious but then it has its merits too. Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star as the books titular characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, respectively.
I've made a list of 10 aspects about the film. The first 5 are positive, the last 5 are negative. Check out my official review of the film on my page, I think the film deserves a 7.5, surprisingly high for someone who had no expectations and not even a thought of seeing the film back when it was released. Warning, bad language, here and there...
1. Contract Meeting
Despite many viewers believing Johnson and Dornan lacked chemistry, I felt this scene proved the two definitely had their share of banter and slight flirtatious chemistry. As Anastasia takes Christian through his contract about what sexual acts she will and won't allow, they exchange quips and suggestive looks throughout this rather amusing scene.
2. Dakota Johnson
One of my favourite actresses, Dakota Johnson took on the daring role of Anastasia role which required baring all for the camera and let's face it, putting herself in some steamy situations that would've been rather uncomfortable to film, which I'll get to later. But Johnson gives a strong performance, racy at times, innocent and compelling. She is the best part of the film for me.
You can't deny that this film looks the part! Seattle is framed with grandeur by cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, the sweeping shots hover over the cityscape and it's stunning. The tracking shots of Christian jogging through the grey, much like the shades mentioned in the title, set the mood nicely and the shots of Christian's apartment with the backdrop of the city at night is gorgeous on the big screen.
Much like the cinematography, you can't deny that the lighting is on fine form. The cold and cool greys of the Seattle landscape, the moody and sumptuous reds of Christian's play room and the passionate red lighting that envelops the boardroom scene all look fantastic, let's all agree that there is clear thought and craft gone into the technicalities of this film.
Ellie Goulding's Love Me Like You Do being the highlight of the crop, the film is graced with some terrific songs from Annie Lennox, The Weeknd and a particularly stylish and sexy version of Beyonce's Crazy in Love. Here's hoping the sequel has the same quality in its soundtrack. Maybe get a bit of Charlie Puth thrown in there hot off the success of his See You Again, his song Suffer is ripe for Fifty Shades.
And now for the 5 things I didn't like about this "erotic thriller".
6. Hilariously bad dialogue
I've heard from interviews and reviews across the internet that the book has dozens and dozens of some truly awful lines and cringeworthy dialogue interactions. Looks like they've been ripped straight out of the book and thrown onscreen, and it shows. It's Christian Grey who has the most jaw-droppingly cheesy lines, most noticeably this one: "Because I'm fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia". Someone please explain what this means to me because I'm very lost.
7. Whipping scene
I get this is part of the story, as Anastasia wants to understand what makes Christian tick, and that's his dominance issues. He places her on a bed, and whips her several times, over and over again. This prolonged scene gets tedious and hard to watch, I couldn't imagine what it would've been like to shoot. This scene would've been miles more impactful and better had they cutaway from the visuals of the whipping and just had the sound of it all, then cut back to afterwards to see Anastasia's emotional distraught face.
8. Rita's Ora brief appearance
Well, this was one reason for me watching this film. One of my favourite singers, Rita Ora, makes an appearance. It's a bloody pain that she's in it for all of 5 seconds with barely a line and a hair style that even this insanely gorgeous singer can't pull off. If she comes back for the second, more screen time please, cause she's capable of performing, have you seen her part in Southpaw? She impressed, briefly.
9. Sex Scenes
If I were to describe the sex scenes in this film, I'd say they are severely lacking heat and steaminess, which is exactly what this film needed with regards to its source material. They barely register as raunchy, nor do they last long. It all feels very neutered down for a film rated an 18. I've seen 15 rated films with naughtier sex scenes than this. Upping the ante is needed in the sequels!
Sluggish. That's how I'd describe some of the pacing issues the film has. Running in at two hours, Fifty Shades of Grey has its fair share of dull scenes that really do nothing for the overall narrative nor they do have anything interesting in them to justify their existence in the film. Like this dinner table scene, and the nightclub scene, and the scene where Anastasia is cooking breakfast, and the scene with her flatmate and Christian's brother caught midway through sex.
What did you think of Fifty Shades of Grey? Did you find any redeeming features in it? Check out my poll or comment below. I don't think it's the critical trash people label it as, though it certainly does need a lot of fine tuning. Here's hoping the sequel does something different!