‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Review: Fan Fiction With No Chemistry

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This past Wednesday evening, after attempting to read the book (and quitting 30 pages in), I saw the highly anticipated Fifty Shades of Grey film. Surrounded by a theater full of estrogen, I had super low expectations. I figured I was seeing a fan fiction film that would demonstrate just how close you could get to a porno while still retaining the R rating. I was mostly right.

For those that aren’t familiar with the origins of Fifty Shades of Grey, it all started as Twilight fan fiction written by E. L. James. No joke. This is obviously the first problem I have with the film, as Bella Swan (played by Kristen Stewart in the Twilight film series) is one of the weakest female characters I’ve ever seen. Not at all someone that you want the demographic of the film to look up to. Of course, fans of Twilight, which first premiered in 2008, are now a little bit older. Twilight isn’t going to cut it for them anymore. Enter Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fifty Shades of Grey Official Description

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has been translated into 51 languages worldwide and sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever.

Saying I was surprised by Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t a huge compliment for the film. Again I went in with super low expectations… and looking at the female lead as if she was Bella Swan. I will say that the character of Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson), I found stronger and more honest than Bella. Sure, she’s awkward and inexperienced. She’s a virgin that’s easily swayed by a successful man that has charm and that bad boy “I can change him” vibe going. I mean, all females have been there to some degree – a guy that literally tells you he is bad for you and pushes you away – and it only makes you want him more. It takes years before we realize just how stupid we were in our pursuits of those guys, so in a way, you kinda feel for Anastasia in the beginning. She doesn’t know yet, but she will.

Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) is obviously messed up. Before he was adopted as a child, he had a rather rough life – which we can assume is a large part of why he is so messed up. We can attribute the rest to his mother’s friend who sexually abused him (sure he says it wasn’t abuse, but he was 15 – it was… Bottom line). Fast-forward to present day, and Christian has a bunch of “singular” interests – to which he does “enlighten” Anastasia. He doesn’t do romance, just helicopters, penthouses, a collection of impressive cars – and sex… all the sex with all the weird stuff. The movie tames it down considerably, but I’m sure that director Sam Taylor-Johnson got as close to the NC-17 line as she possibly could with the contract, the play room (full of whips, flogs, handcuffs.. the list goes on) and so many nipple shots (Literally, this film was 70% shots of Dakota Johnson’s nipples).

The chemistry between Jamie and Dakota is another topic altogether, as the two have been doing a number of interviews in promotion for the film, and both seem to know that they made a mistake in doing the film. They seem to hate each other now… is it just an act? I can’t be sure. I can say that the chemistry in the film is not as hot and convincing as fan girls will want it to be. I’m not sure if that’s just Jamie trying to be emotionally unattached (as Christian has always been before Anastasia) and Dakota playing the awkward and annoying (yet somehow occasionally comically adorable) inexperienced one. I’m honestly not sure – based on the interviews though I’m going to say that it’s a lack of chemistry and a whole lot of regret.

Next topic I feel like needs to be discussed is the notion that guys feel like they’re going to get laid after taking their date to this movie for Valentine’s Day. I mean, maybe that will happen. But honestly, I feel like you guys are probably opening yourselves up to what most of you hate most – talking about your relationship. Why are people messed up? What’s okay and not okay? How many games does it take between two individuals for the smart one to wake up and realize the other one is a lost cause that’s only going to hold them back? I could go on, but I’m trying to keep it tame as I try to keep FanBolt PG-13.

I haven’t read the second and third books (seeing as how I didn’t make it past page 30 of the first book… other than to look up certain parts that people told me to read. (aka the contract)), so I don’t know if Christian magically becomes a good guy. Based on it being fan fiction written by a female, I’m going to bet that Anastasia magically changes him and he becomes the perfect guy by the end of the series. I’m not sure how the sex (which is the selling point for this series) can be that hot in the next two films (which have already been green-lit) based on how this film ended, but I’m sure that won’t stop the crowds from going. Though I’m interested to see how the lack of chemistry will play out in the sequels…

Fifty Shades of Grey Trailer

The best part of the this movie is the soundtrack. The soundtrack is hot… Way hotter than the actual film. If the Beyonce song doesn’t get to you, then I’m not sure what will. You may be a lost cause. Just buy the soundtrack on iTunes and skip the film. Overall, it was better than I thought – but still not a good flick. It feels very much like fan fiction, and even though Dakota Johnson manages to save a couple moments with an adorable awkward humor – the rest of the film falls flat on its face with a weak story and a complete lack of chemistry. That being said, it’s lightyears better than last week’s Jupiter Ascending.

Grade: D


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