Yeah, we all knew this was coming. Sure, I mainly write book reviews, but watching and critiquing this movie was pretty much a necessity. You really can’t be too surprised.
If you don’t know what this movie is about by now, then I simply can’t help you. Moving on.
Meh, it was okay. Was it unwatchable? No. Was it an emotionally charged film? Not even close. To be honest, I actually thought it was kind of boring, and I think there are 2 logical explanations for why it seemed slow to me: 1) I’d already read the books, so I knew where it was headed, and 2) Just like the book, there is no real plot! Both factors played an important role in the overall meh-ness of the film. However, considering that I initially expected it to be laughably horrible, I suppose the fact that it was just a bit dull is technically a step up.
The Best and the Worst of it
Alright, let’s switch to something positive. The soundtrack was amazing. Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do” in particular was fantabulous. Although the individual songs were great, at times the score, or background music, was annoying. For example, whenever our two lovers stared awkwardly into each other’s eyes (so basically every other minute) this unbelievably cheesy melody played. It almost reminded me of a bad daytime soap opera.
Sadly, the acting performances of both lead characters, Jamie Dornan (humina yumina) and Dakota Johnson, were so emotionally flat that they kind of ruined it for me. My God, have these people ever heard of inflection?! They sounded like robots for about 85% of the film! There was one scene where Christian said something like, “I’m going to f*ck you now”, but his delivery of the line was so uninspired I thought, “Oh, and would you like a side of fries with that?” Even their movements seemed forced. Their intense pacing during arguments appeared like a poorly choreographed high school play. Where’s the energy?! Sure, when he did the whole over-the-shoulder shirt removal move to show off his abs I was more than tempted to fan myself, but I need more than a pretty body I can eat off of to be impressed. Well…maybe. I think there was a legitimate reason why Mr. Dornan didn’t wow me in this role, and to be fair it was kind of out of his control. You see, he’s from Northern Ireland, and normally speaks with an extremely heavy Irish accent. I actually wasn’t aware of this before I saw the movie, but the minute he spoke his first line I said to myself, “He’s hiding an accent”, and I must say he did a very poor job of it. He was so focused on sounding American that I think it heavily contributed to his robotic-sounding voice. This was especially true during his argument scenes with Anastasia. It was almost like he didn’t want to scream too loud for fear that his true accent would come out. That being said, this accent hiding isn’t something which a lot of people tend to notice, so you might not even care, but it bothers me something fierce. I actually wish they had just made the executive decision to have Christian Grey be Irish in the movie so that Mr. Dornan could have spoken in his natural voice. He also prefers to have a beard in real life, which I must say makes him look even more edible. Let the man keep his scruff! He’s asking you nicely.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of it, shall we? I have one question for all of the people out there who complained that the movie wasn’t as sexy as the book. What the hell more do you want?!?! Cheese and monkey soup I’m no blushing wall-flower when it comes to sex scenes in movies, but you see the hair of his nether regions for crying out loud! Not to mention the spanking, the hair pulling, the ice cubes, the hip movements! Oh God, the hip movements. Yes, the elevator scene was slightly disappointing, but there’s panting, whipping, and some very creative camera work when his head is in-between her thighs. If you want something sexier than that I think you’re looking for the porno section behind that red curtain over there. The sad thing is, that joke isn’t even relevant anymore since video stores are now obsolete. Eh, you get what I was trying to do. And now I have a message for all of the men out there who are complaining that their significant other wants them to watch this movie. Listen up. Maybe you should give in on this one. So she wants to see a movie with you that contains graphic sex scenes, spanking, and exploring new ways of sexual pleasure. What exactly is the problem here? Your chance of getting lucky has probably increased 63% from the trailer alone. It’s not like she’s asking you to watch “The Notebook” so you can get in touch with your inner feminine side and paint each other’s toenails. No, no, this one is primarily about sex. Enjoy it while you can!
The Two Best Scenes
In my opinion, there were only two scenes in this movie which stood out in a positive way. The first was when Anastasia and Christian were negotiating the terms of the sex contract. It was surprisingly funny, and in a good way! I think this scene actually showed off Dakota Johnson’s main strength, which was having a background in comedy. I know it sounds strange, but I wish they had actually included more comedy into the film. The premise of the movie is ridiculous enough as it is, might as well play it up for all it’s worth. She would make some funny, snarky comments about different outlandish situations (ahem, sex contract!), which somewhat helped to alleviate the complete and total awkwardness that was her character.
The second standout scene is the complete opposite of the first. It’s the very last scene of the movie, where Christian punishes Anastasia by whipping her with his belt six times. The juxtaposition of the resounding lash of the belt with her quiet, tearful counting throughout the punishment was notably gripping. It was also the only moment in the film where we saw any kind of real emotion from the characters: her overwhelming embarrassment, and his immediate regret. In my opinion, this brief glimpse of true feeling from the actors demonstrates that there might actually be some potential for the second film. Considering that book 2 was my favorite of the trilogy, I am quite intrigued to see what they come up with next.