To say that I am not a fan of the 50 Shades of Grey (book) would be an understatement. Still, I’ve watched the movie. Call it masochism or using every opportunity to get self-righteous, but there, I did it.
The movie transfers the book to the screen almost perfectly. Dialogue swerves left and right with no rhyme or reason (reminded me of The Room on more than one occasion). The motivation of the characters is completely mysterious and baffling and the effect does not seem to have absolutely anything to the with the cause.
Dakota Johnson is perfect as Anastasia Steele. She has that clueless look about her and she stares stupidly at Christian just the way I’ve imagined it while reading the book. Dakota’s Ana is flustered, all over the place. At one point she’s all for some power play, and then she’s this empowered woman who will not be pushed around.
Jamie Dornan is a decent Christian Grey because throughout most of the movie he lacks definition (not talking about his muscle tone, that’s acceptable) and he seems to be a guy controlled by an invisible string and not by any recognizable human desires or emotions. He fails at a couple of instances and exhibits smidges of a third dimension, but not enough to diminish the adherence to the book. He’s also good in showing that one of the most important parts of Grey’s personality is actually a joke to him, even though it causes great social and emotional pain. For instance whenever he asks Anastasia to obey him, he slips in a smirk or something, showing that he doesn’t really mean it that way.
One thing that the movie does better than the book is sex. But that really isn’t difficult. However, even in the movie there’s no chemistry between the protagonists and the hotness level is pretty much down there with the one in the book (minus the need to answer the question: What he fuck? Does she have three legs or something?).
Maybe the biggest fault with the adaptation is the fact that we don’t get an opportunity to experience the rich internal life of Anastasia Steele where things like Holy crap! and Holy cow! come into play during intercourse. I think that they should have introduced a third character (the movie just pretends to have more than two characters, just like the book) called Inner Goddess. Imagine that! Anastasia and Christian are talking and …. PUFF! Inner Goddess appears and does some idiotic dance.
All in all, 50 Shades of Grey, the movie, is all it can be. If you don’t agree, consider this:
It was based on a book which was based on an AU fanfiction (partly written on a mobile phone) about the characters from young adult novels about glittering vampires and werewolves, whose main protagonist has a blank stare and is unable to close her mouth.
So, haters gonna hate, but if you were given a job to make a movie which was supposed satisfy millions of fans, this is how you would do it. Myself, I’d have probably hired James Spader to play Mr. Grey, having in mind that me being in charge of making any movie is as likely as James Spader rejuvenation.
One good thing came from this experience – I remembered that I haven’t seen The Secretary in a while and I remedied that immediately. You should too.