The Fifty Shades books, written by E.L. James, were an immense success. They were new in this kind of genre and a lot of women were very enthusiastic to see the books on the big screen. There were also people who thought the story was poorly written and that it was nothing more than soft porn for middle-aged stay-at-home moms. Because of the hype I read the books myself but not in my own language. So, I couldn’t say if it was proper written or not. I think that the worst thing for a film is to be overhyped. Everybody knows the story of billionaire Christian Grey and the sweet, innocent Anastasia Steele and everyone have their opinion. The film was a big success, regarding the box office, but the critics were not that impressed by the film. I’ve read some reviews but I still wanted to see the film for myself and form my own opinon. In Fifty Shades of Grey, the first film in this trilogy, literature student Anastasia Steele meets billionaire Christian Grey during a school interview. From the moment they met there is this mutual attraction but Christian Grey has a very singular taste and Anastasia is young, innocent and quite naïve. Christian, played by Jamie Dornan, has a very troubled past and part because of that he developed an interest in BDSM. When he meets Anastasia, played by Dakota Johnson, he thinks she’s the perfect candidate to be his submissive. Anastasia has some different ideas about their relationship so it comes as a shock when she finds out what Christian has in store for her. But Ana gets to have Christian and they do have a great time together, untill the moment Christian lets Ana feel how ‘worse’ his lifestyle can be. In the meantime Ana’s friend Kate, Eloise Mumford , is in a relationship with the other brother, Elliot (Luke Grimes). Talking about Kate’s character. Of the supporting roles, she was the most interesting one because she hadsome great nonverbal expressions. Expressions which already made it clear that she doesn’t trust Christian. The other supporting roles were definitely not memorable ones.
Like I mentioned before, Fifty Shades of Grey was very overhyped from the moment Universal bought the rights. Everyone who had read the books had their opinion on who should play the lead parts. There were lots of discussions and when the lead parts were cast, not everybody was happy. First Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam signed on to play the dominant sadist. But because of some schedule problems, he dropped out and Jamie Dornan replaced him. There were also some issues at the writers table, but I don’t know the ins and outs about that. I think that when the film was less spoken about and the books less popular the film itself could have been better. Everyone had their opinion and expectations.
I had also some expectations and actors in my mind who could play the part. At first I wasn’t sure about Dornan and Johnson, but after seeing the first trailer I changed my mind. I was never that negative towards them but because you have an image while reading the books, it’s sometime hard to let that image go. I think Dornan and Johnson played their part almost credible and tried to make the best of it. Their expressions where fine and the giggling Ana made her look very inexperienced. I was very happy that we didn’t get to hear all about her ‘inner goddess’. But because of her facial expressions you could still see it’s there. That might only be visible for the book fans but I liked her expressions very much at some point. On the other hand, some monologues were very laughable and sometimes every embarrassing. The sex scenes weren’t steamy at all. We didn’t get to see more than in a regular episode of Game of Thrones. And what I really didn’t like was the over-use of pop songs during.
I also felt that the film wanted to show so much of the book, that we flew through the story without giving a better view on the characters and the moments they were in. The elaboration of the characters could have been so much better. Christian was most of the time a serious, tormented and sexual active man with few different facial expressions. I really missed the so-called “care free” Christian. The closest thing we got was the scene when Christian and Ana went gliding. Dakota Johnson did a better job. Her character, Anastasia, was shy and unexperienced at first but later she stands up for herself and becomes more assertive. She also had some very funny statements. The supporting characters had so little screen time, it was almost like they weren’t even there. I can’t remember how big their parts were in the books, but this was sometimes just sad. The main characters also spoke so few about them, that during the dinner scene at Christian’s parents house, it was like: “Oh they do exist!”
Overall, I don’t think this film was that bad. It’s definitely not a memorable one, but I’ve seen worse. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson did the best she could with the source material she had. For a 16 plus film, the sex scenes were quite innocent. They weren’t steamy or interesting enough. I remember reading that the director wanted it this way, so it wouldn’t become true porn. However, I think it could have been more ‘hot’. I really do hope the next two films will elaborate all the characters better and don’t follow the books so emphatically. The film should follow its own story and focus more on Christian’s trauma and how this affects his sexual life. I do have my doubts though. Fact is that E.L. James’ husband Niall Leonard is responsible for the screenplay and E.L. James herself have all the rights. I will probably see it nevertheless, what about you?