HOLLYWOOD—There are those movies that surprise you, then there are those movies that really surprise you. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is one of those movies. As most may know, the film is based off of the popular novel by E.L. James that created a firestorm in the past two years, with women discussing the risqué novel in the workplace amongst other opportunities.
While many are quick to categorize the film as an erotic romance, I would argue otherwise. “Grey” introduces audiences to an element of kink, bondage and SM lifestyle many have only heard of; now we get an inside glimpse of things and it’s an eyeful to say the least.
Be warned this isn’t a movie for everyone; it takes a certain dimension of openness to attempt to grasp just precisely what director Sam Taylor-Johnson was hoping to present to the audience. The film stars Dakota Johnson, in the perfect role, as Anastasia Steele, a college graduate who delves into a world completely unknown to her.
This isn’t a role any actress can easily pull off in my opinion, but Johnson brings a level of innocence, uncertainty and curiosity to a character that grows as the narrative progresses. Her love interest is none other than Christian Grey portrayed by newcomer Jamie Dornan.
Well he’s not a newcomer, but this movie exposes him to an audience who won’t forget the actor. Dornan brings a level of charm and mystery to a character that is quite misunderstood amongst many other things. The fact that his family knows little about his dalliances in the bedroom screams wonders.
The two characters have a chance meeting when Anastasia fills in to conduct an interview with Christian when her roommate Kate (Eloise Mumford) suddenly falls ill. That interview leads to an obsession some would say. Christian is intrigued by Ana’s naivety, she intrigues him to say the least and he pursues her. The movie does have those initial elements of a romance, being pursued by the guy who is after the girl, but that soon transforms to something completely forbidden. When Christian asks Ana to sign a non-disclosure agreement about their relationship the sex games kick into high gear with whips, blindfolds and spanking.
At moments some of the sex scenes are quite intense and a bit uncomfortable to watch; not everyone will be applauding in the theater, at least most of the guys won’t. The women may be a different perspective, especially those who read and are fans of the novel.
While “Fifty Shades of Grey” does its best to present itself as a steamy romance, I never got that inclination from watching the film. It was about an element of control, diving head into a situation without knowing what to expect, but being a willing participant.
Watching the film, its apparent Ana is uncomfortable with some of her lover’s tactics in the sex department, and you almost want her to scream out ‘stop’ at certain moments. When a film teeters along the lines of being a romance, you expect just that a level of romance that is almost idyllic to real life.
The audience doesn’t get that here, instead we are asked to open our eyes to an arena in the sex world that isn’t fun to talk about let alone see depicted on the big screen in all of its glory.
The biggest problem with “Fifty Shades of Grey” is that it focuses too much on the taboo of bondage and sadomasochistic elements in the bedroom than fully getting to the root of the relationship between Christian and Anastasia, which is a shame.