“Fifty Shades of Grey” is based off the best-selling novel of the same name by E. L. James (maybe you’ve heard of it?). The film stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele, a recent college grad who falls for a young billionaire named Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan, who has very specific tastes, to keep things PG. Sam Taylor-Johnson directs.
I really had no idea what to expect as I walked into this film. I knew that the novel was controversial (I also heard it was one of the worst books ever written), but that’s about it. Even the trailers of the film didn’t do much to suggest a plot summary. Walking out I now know why the trailers didn’t show much: it’s because this movie isn’t about anything and is just downright awful.
I could probably write a thesis paper on what is wrong with this movie, but let’s start with the two leads, Johnson and Dornan. By themselves they’re both serviceable, but together they have almost an awkward amount of lacking chemistry, and are given some of the worst dialogue in the history of cinema to recite.
Seriously, within the first 10 minutes of the film I was cringing at some of the writing, and my friend even leaned over to me and said that the dialogue was awful. I can’t even repeat most of the lines because they’re hilariously intentionally vulgar, but I’ll give you an example of a scene that had me shaking my head.
After having met Christian Grey on two occasions combining for probably about 25 minutes of together time, Anastasia Steele drunk-calls him while out celebrating having just finished college. He gets all upset and mad at her, a 25-year-old woman, for being at a bar, and then somehow (never explained how) he finds her and brings her home. And then the next morning she’s all impressed and they begin their relationship. Like, no. I know Grey is supposed to be a control freak, but no one is that uptight about people they just met.
The pacing in this movie is also an atrocity; I saw people checking their phones every 10 minutes. Every scene consists of essentially the same arc. Christian and Anastasia do their “Fifty Shades of Grey” thing, Anastasia wants Christian to open up to her, he yells and says he can’t, she cries, rinse, repeat. It’s so mundane and repetitive that it makes this two hour runtime feel like an eternity.
It’s also worth noting that there are three scene transitions that burned my eyes. It goes from inside a dark room at night to a bright Seattle skyline instantly, and everyone in the audience exclaimed at once.
Let’s get to the positives. …I mean… director Sam Taylor-Johnson used to be an artist, so the film looks nice. Some of the scenery and tonal colors work well together…that’s actually all I can think of.
I was bored out of my skull watching “Fifty Shades of Grey”, and it isn’t even like the graphic and racy parts live up to the hype (I’ve seen way worse in movies). The whole movie is about Christian Grey tying up and torturing Anastasia, yet I felt like the only one trapped and abused. This isn’t a “so-bad-it’s-good” movie. This is a “so-awful-I-actually-feel-dumber” movie. The actors have no chemistry, the writing is cringe-worthy and the plot is pointless.
There’s a part in the film when Christian is talking about a disclosure contract he makes Anastasia sign, and he says, “forget the contract, it’s getting redundant”. I just rolled my eyes and thought, “this movie is getting redundant…”
Critics Rating: 2/10