Movie Reviews

Review: A man's take on 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

By Zaki JufriMovies - 12 February 2015 5:03 PM | Updated 5:26 PM

Review: A man's take on 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Our Rating

2/5 Stars

Even before ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ hits the screens this week, a lot of people may have made up their minds about this movie.

That it will be a bad movie adaptation of a bad novel.

Thankfully, it is nowhere as preposterous as you might expect.

Usually the case would be that book-to-film adaptations fail to capture the author’s voice, but in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, that flaw is perhaps its greatest strength. 

Although director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel loosen the movie’s ties to the original source material, it is still bound by its spirit.

Audiences are spared the bad writing and other literary crimes from a book that sprang from 'Twilight' fan fiction. They are offered instead a stylish escapist romantic drama punctuated by the occasional sex scene.

If you haven’t read the book, the premise is simple enough: Innocent girl (Dakota Johnson) meets rich boy (Jamie Dornan). Boy likes girl. Boy asks girl if she is open to his brand of hanky-panky. Throw in a kinky love story, some cheeky humour, and you’ve got ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. 

However, after all that aggressive marketing and titillation, the movie is quite limp and doesn’t leave anyone panting. 

Dornan plays Christian Grey, the billionaire telco magnate with “many physical pursuits”.

MORE: 15 awkward movie sex scenes

A last-minute replacement when Charlie Hunnam (‘Pacific Rim’) left the movie, Dornan has little room to play the role, making his version of Grey too cold and mysterious a character even though he grows emotionally vulnerable. 

Johnson plays her part as Anastasia Steele. A better "upgrade" of the self-loathing young woman in the books, Johnson’s Ana believes she can change the man she loves by conceding to his sexual wonts (which can only happen in movies, for if you ask any man in real-life relationships, the only thing they change is their underwear, and only if it pleases them).

To Johnson’s credit, it is fascinating to see her character blossom from naive bumbling schoolgirl to an assertive young woman.

Those looking for hot, kinky sex on screen will be sorely disappointed. For a movie set in the world of BDSM (bondage/discipline, dominance/submission and sado-masochism), only 15 (yes, we counted) of the movie's 125-minute run time feature the promised kink. 

The bedroom action, even with Beyonce’s ‘Crazy in Love’ and a stirring score by Danny Elfman providing rhythmic thrusts to the proceedings, are so flaccid that even the graphic nudity grows numbing.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ barely touched the graphic sex vividly described in EL James’ book – perhaps saving those for the recently greenlit sequels.

It may be a Valentine’s Day movie that will still make bank at the box office, but you aren’t helping yourself by seeing it.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ opens 12 February 2015 

Movie Photos

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Fifty Shades Of Grey
  • Fifty Shades Of Grey

    (2015)
  • Rated
    R21 /
    Genre
    Drama, Romance
  • Language
    Eng
  • (5 Reviews)