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Fifty Shades Of Grey—movie review

Dakota Johnson-Jamie Dornan-Fifty Shades-1Sex sells. Movie producers and marketers have known this
since the earliest days of silent films. But mainstream pictures tend to steer clear of kinky sex; films like Last Tango in Paris and Nine ½ Weeks made headlines but didn’t play to mass audiences here in the U.S. The canny people behind the adaptation of E.L. James runaway best-seller Fifty Shades of Grey have made all the right moves, not pushing the envelope beyond an R rating and couching its s&m quotient within the confines of a somewhat conventional romantic drama. Whether or not this will please the readers of James’ writing I
cannot say, but it works surprisingly well as a movie.

Jamie Dornan-Fifty Shades of Grey

It all boils down to this: it’s easy to relate to Dakota
Johnson’s character, an English lit major from Portland who chances to meet
handsome young tycoon Jamie Dornan, though his reserve and ultracool demeanor make him somewhat
intimidating. When he reveals that in spite of his ardor he does not date or
sleep with women but prefers to dominate them in his “playroom,” she is
understandably put off. They make love in the traditional way. Then they negotiate.
She stands up to him. And when she finally agrees to explore some possibilities
in his preferred arena, she is tentative. Meanwhile, he begins to bend his own
rules, because he truly wants to be with her.

Working from a screenplay by Kelly Marcel, director Sam
Taylor-Johnson makes sure Johnson’s character never loses her credibility or
relatability. And while Dornan is much more elusive, the fact that he winds up
becoming more romantic, in spite of himself, makes it easier to digest his dark
desires. Taylor-Johnson manages to create moments of palpable tension and
eroticism with “tasteful” nudity and discreet use of Dornan’s bondage devices.

Johnson-Jamie Dornan-Fifty Shades of Grey-2

The movie tries to have it both ways, relying on traditional
tropes where Dornan sweeps Johnson off her feet—figuratively speaking—by showing
off his luxurious penthouse and taking her for a ride in his private
helicopter, then swinging to the opposite extreme with a scene of spanking or
whipping. But because we never lose sight of her response to these moments, the
movie stays on course.

Fifty Shades of Grey
may not be the film some heavy-breathing readers were hoping for, but it does
represent a (careful) step over the line by Hollywood standards. Will this
alter the template for love stories in general? I wonder.

 

18 comments

  1. Timothy M. Nolan says:

    Never got through the whole roohah over it’s fanbase. To me it looked like a poor man’s "Eyes Wide Shut".

  2. Shorts22 says:

    the movie was not too bad it did an overall good job on depicting the book…..and unless you sat down to read the book it maybe difficult to understand the movie………they did a better job depicting the book than the twilight series movies.

  3. Jose says:

    Mr. Martin, your review is as pussy as this film is

  4. Natron says:

    Looks like mr. Maltin got a half stiffy watching this tame & lame excuse for a film. Unfortunately, this film much like Leonard Maltin’s sex drive, you need a pill to enjoy it. C

  5. Judy Stevenfeldt says:

    I hate to admit this, but I liked the movie much more than I thought I would. In many ways it was better than the poorly written, almost pornographic book. The sex scenes were much more explicit than I expected from having read other reviews and were quite tastefully done. I didn’t expect to see S&M done tastefully, if that’s even possible. The movie followed the book more closely than I expected also.

  6. David says:

    actually thats a huge insult to kristen stewart. She did pretty good in her Twilight movies. That girl in 50 shades….sigh i’m getting too worked up. Very disappointed! I want my money back for watching that movie! and what i paid for parking!

  7. David says:

    …and the actors were no good either. She’s worse than kristen stewart.They had absolutely no chemistry. The acting was a joke. just like NORA said above me…Two very dull actors. Super dissapointed.

  8. David says:

    The movie was horrible. Book was good…Movie was bad. Didn’t like it at all. Wont be watching any more fifty shade films.

  9. Cheri says:

    Loved it! Men are moaning because there aren’t hard sex scenes in the movie but women don’t get off on that. They want romance with a little naughtiness and not nasty and tasteless porn. This movie is for women. I can’t wait for the next 2 films!

  10. Nora says:

    A non-prudish review: Painfully boring film adaptation using 2 dull actors possessing no real screen chemistry. There is nothing racy or even seemingly ground breaking here, but what can you expect from a script born from Twilight fan fiction? Those who attempt to cast this piece of crap as something deeper than a movie studio package meant to capitalize on the shallow, unsophisticated desires of a smartphone addicted hook-up culture are deluding themselves.

  11. gianni says:

    I’m wondering if you’ve been bribed into write such a misleading review and if you have seen the movie at all. Contrary to what you’ve said, the characters are never believable nor relatable. The plot and the dialogues are very poor. The actin is not great either. Some women might enjoy the view of bear chested Dornan using a flogger in a couple of scenes. A part from that the movie is just painfully slow and boring.

  12. Paige says:

    Good review! Limiting this to an R rating, with more focus on mainstream romance themes, does seem like a wise move for Hollywood. I never read the books, so the movie seemed like a nice sweet little love story; clearly a fantasy, far-fetched from reality, but without the book’s expectations, it’s easy to like the film. I only thought the last 10 minutes of it took a real nose-dive, because of Anna’s head-tripping over something she asked for. That was weak, but I’m sure it came from the book, so they had to keep it in.

  13. Larry R says:

    At last a review by a critic who gets it and didn’t let their prudish preconceptions or political correctness get in the way. The movie does not glorify abuse or condemn domination. In fact, the woman is the dominant character here. Well done Mr. Maltin.

  14. Just me says:

    When is the other two parts to the movie coming out?? Had no idea that this movie was going to end at the the book!! I think it’s just a money pit!!

  15. Jeffrey says:

    Now I’m intrigued. I was expecting a much worse review.

  16. H-Man says:

    Are you joking me, Mr. Maltin? This movie was complete garbage!

  17. Red Lefevre says:

    I think I’ll pass on this one and just watch "Debbie Does Dallas" on DVD for the 77th time. Thats the kind os stuff that puts lead in my pencil if you know what I mean and I think you do. This Hollywood stuff where people do the nasty standing up with all their clothes on it just don’t do it for me you know.

  18. Norm says:

    Doesn’t look like Pussycat Theaters material…

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