Coming to theatres this Friday from director Sam Taylor-Johnson and Universal Pictures comes the best selling book by author E.L. James to screen with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.
This film tells the story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), a college student who does her roommate a favor by interviewing the young billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). From the moment these two meet there is a spark and Grey takes the initiative to sweep Ana off her feet.
Ana falls for Grey quickly and although he tries to avoid her, Grey knows there can be no secrets if they are to continue. Right away he explains his taste in how he handles relationships suggesting to Ana that she investigate it all for herself.
She is curious and dabbles in Grey’s world but holds back her total commitment. Not getting what she wants from love, Ana goes deeper into Grey’s lifestyle only to discover there is more than she ever imagined.
FINAL WORD: Johnson as Steele plays a woman who admits to not knowing much about love. Well, that’s plainly obvious by her bi-polar behavior regarding Grey. Told from the beginning how things would be, one moment she’s okay with it and the next she’s shocked. Like a spoiled child she is okay with everything when it’s all going her way with tons of fun and then throws a fit when reality hits. Seriously, a submissive wouldn’t have gotten away with a fraction of what this character does.
Performance wise I wanted to throw Johnson lip balm and a towel. Spending half the film either wetting her lips or biting on them and the other half naked – well, if that’s what people want then by all means pay the bucks to do so but where is the believability of character? Guess you can’t have everything.
Dornan as Grey starts out being the straight forward and in control business man whose lifestyle is that of a Dominant. Setting the rules and making them very clear, it takes him all of five seconds to throw it all out. All I kept thinking was ‘who trained this guy?’ His line of “I don’t do romance”, are you kidding me? That’s all he was doing up until the last ten minutes and even then he was one sniffle away from a total chick binge crying breaking down.
Dornan himself had the ladies in the audience fluttering so if they have awards for that I’m sure he’ll win some. There was just so much inconsistency in the character that Dornan’s portrayal gets mired down and his role as a Dominant isn’t believable.
Other cast include: Eloise Mumford as Kate, Jennifer Ehle as Carla, Victor Rasuk as Jose, Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey, Marcia Gay Harden as Mrs. Grey, Rita Ora as Mia Grey and Andrew Airlie as Mr. Grey.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give FIFTY SHADES OF GREY two and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Yes, I’m going to get a lot of guff about this and that’s fine by me. Sitting for two hours I watched a watered-down-almost-whiny-soft-core-version of NINE ½ WEEKS (1986) and SECRETARY (2002), both films far and away superior to this one. Adding insult to injury, the film SECRETARY’s lead role played magnificently and gloriously by James Spader is named Mr. Grey.
The film starts out pretty bang to bullets and then it drops off and the usual relationship stuff kicks in with jealousy, jacked up past, emotional demands with sex thrown in which seemed pretty tame for a Dom/submissive tale. The story is just all over the place and I was over it fairly fast. It plays out like a sappy relationship with a twist and the twist isn’t even worth the price of admission. There was a chance here to be bold but instead it took the safe word way out!
Did I read the book? No, and I shouldn’t have to too “get it” because, and it must be said, I completely and informatively get it. That being said, comparing books to film just isn’t my thing and having seen the film I still don’t feel the need to read the books. I’d rather line up a back to back screen of SECRETARY and NINE ½ WEEKS!
I’m giving a personal shout of the ‘awesomely hot’ kind to Max Martini who plays Grey’s driver Taylor. There were women around me going ga-ga for him which brought a big smile to my face. I’ve been going ga-ga for him for years first seeing him in the 2006 series THE UNIT, playing Frank Stevens in the series REVENGE and the hot SEAL commander in the film CAPTAIN PHILLIPS. Hey, I will give props where props are due and for Martini – they are due.
So after all is said it doesn’t really matter what I think of the book-to-screen. Of course the film will make tons of money with the anticipation of the next two films. I wish they had used the Nina Simone version of the opening song I Put A Spell On You because that would have been righteous but I do love Annie Lennox so that is a pass. I can do without anymore Beyonce versions of Crazy In Love for that matter.
In the end – Mr. Grey will see you now!