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New Release Review - Fifty Shades of Grey

EL James' literary phenomenon arrives on the screen.

Review by Andy Comer

Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Luke Grimes, Jennifer Ehle, Rita Ora, Marcia Gay Harden



Fifty Shades of Grey is based on the first of three novels about an ordinary girl, Anastasia Steele (Johnson), and a billionaire, Christian Grey (Dornan), meeting and quickly falling in love. That may sound nice and sweet, but I assure you this is not for everyone. The novel was written as a sort of fan fiction response to the Twilight series, but with a whole lot of sex instead of vampires and werewolves, and believe me when I say that's exactly what it feels like. I don’t know how this even received an R rating, because it felt like I was watching a bigger budget late night soft-core porno. Needless to say, this is not the kind of movie you go to on a first date.
The movie starts with Anastasia interviewing Christian in place of her journalist roommate, who is sick. It is apparent from the start that she is as ordinary as can be and it is obvious that Christian is instantly taken with her. From there Christian channels his inner Edward Cullen and becomes creepy and brooding, and completely obsessed with Anastasia. Sadly, unlike most normal girls, the overbearing nature of Christian only seems to slightly annoy Anastasia from time to time when it should creep her out to the point that she files a restraining order. But this is one of the things that really annoyed me about this movie; it gives girls a warped idea of what love should be, and I am not even referring to the brutal nature of the sex the characters partake in.
Now, don’t go thinking I’m some uptight guy who doesn’t understand that girls want to be swept off their feet by mysterious handsome men. I totally get it, but the story never builds a solid base for the characters. We don’t care about them, and the filmmakers know that; they just wanted to rake in the cash from all of the people who became obsessed with the crazy kinky sex from the novels. Who can blame them? They are in the business to make money, and they are making it hand over fist, but it really bugs me because this film is bad on so many levels. The story is weak, the characters are shallow and irrational, and the two leads have almost no onscreen chemistry, so even the sex scenes feel forced and a bit awkward from time to time.
Going in, I didn’t really expect much - maybe better than the first Twilight - but I really tried to give this one its fair dues. Sadly, it didn’t take long to realize that the filmmakers didn’t even take the time to try to make something worth-while. At that point I found myself asking why I should give this crap they are peddling to the masses a fair shake. Because I respect filmmakers. Sadly, some filmmakers don’t respect the audience and charge them for this drivel. This is just another example of the studio system shoving crap in front of us and expecting us to hand over hard earned money for whatever they put on screen; and I can’t even emphasize how maddening it is that it works so well.




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