Disclaimer: I am not a professional movie critic nor do I have any experience with films, its production and its actors.
This is my take on the film, 50 Shades of Grey directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Prior to watching 50 Shades of Grey, I read all three novels (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shaded Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed) in its trilogy by author E. L. James, seen exclusive trailers and listened to the film’s soundtrack. I have also seen several interviews of director Taylor-Johnson, and film stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Johnson plays the female lead, Anastasia Steele along with Dornan who plays male lead, Christian Grey.
Being a reader of the book, I definitely knew what to expect, and I did expect a lot. Like most novels adapted as a film, I did not have high hopes that the film would follow the book exactly as I read and what I pictured it to be. As always, our imagination is the greatest form of entertainment, which may have been one of the factors as to why many avid fans may have been left unsatisfied. The movie transitions very quickly from what I remember reading in the novel. Many scenes from the novel were not included, which helped move the film along quickly, in which I felt did more harm than good. It would have been beneficial for the audience to see the “little details” from the novel, play out in the film to give everyone a better and deeper understanding of the story and its male lead, Christian Grey (Dornan).
Just in case you didn’t read the book or you don’t realize while watching the film, Anastasia “Ana” Steele is about to graduate from Washington State University in Vancouver, WA with her best friend whom she is living with, Katherine “Kate” Kavanagh. Kate is the editor of the school’s newspaper and for the final paper, she lands an interview with the young entrepreneur Christian Grey who is a large benefactor of the school. Kate is ill and unable to interview Grey, and has Ana go in her place.
Ana presents herself at Christian’s business, Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. and upon meeting him, she literally falls for him. Ana’s character is a very honest, straight-forward, clumsy and open-minded, while Christian’s character is mysterious and very much to himself. Christian and Ana find themselves mesmerized by the presence and thought of each other and have difficulty keeping apart. Christian believes he is no good for Ana because of his past and his current interests, which are his BDSM (Dominant and Submissive) passions, so Christian attempt to push Ana away (for like two seconds). After constant failure to do so, he realizes the only way to keep Anastasia in his life, is to let her in; to Christian’s world.
Christian has Ana sign a non-disclosure agreement contract (mainly because his BDSM lifestyle would have negative affects on his image and business) and leads her into his “red room of pain,” as Ana would say. Christian calls this, his Playroom. The Playroom is filled with all sorts of “toys” in which he uses for his sexual pleasures and the pleasures of his submissives (yes SUBMISSIVES, as in their has been many more women before Ana; 15 to be exact). Anastasia being entranced by Christian, is more than willing to explore his world, but not before pondering the thought (and not signing the contract) for quite a few days which leaves Christian with a craving for Anastasia.
Christian saves a very drunken Ana from a bar and takes her back to his suite in a hotel, The Heathman, where he is staying near by for a business meeting. Christian undresses Anastasia and changes her, and surprisingly nothing more. He simply looks out for the well-being of a drunken Ana.
Christian and Anastasia eventually meet each others families in the course of a few weeks and Anastasia has fallen in love with Christian, which proves itself to be an obstacle that Christian does not know he can overcome. Christian then shares a dark part of his past, and refers to himself as “50 shades of fucked up,” when Anastasia asks the reason for his lifestyle.
The film did an amazing job at portraying the characters and a bit of their internal connection. The sex scenes which were kept shorter than expected, were promising. Christian is a big man when it comes to foreplay and leaves a lot to your imagination (the suspensions and genital clamps). I have no prior knowledge nor experience with the BDSM culture, but what I took from it, was that Christian wanted to explore the limits and sexual desires of his submissive through their sexual acts. I was left in awe and at one point I wanted to look away but I dared not to. It left me feeling inexperiences and almost innocent-like at the thought (and sight) of the sex scenes.
The scene I found the most eye-catching is when Christian is playing the piano, ceases to play and carries Ana off the bed, naked, to “fuck [her] hard”. Another great line by Christian Grey, “I don’t make love, I fuck…hard,” left me speechless and my jaw dropped. Such a beautiful man, with such filthy words, I found to be seductive. The film transitioned very quickly from the encounter of Ana and Christian, to making-out in an elevator, meeting each others families, buying extravagant gifts, having sex, and them BAM. It’s over in the blink of an eye. The ending does catch you off guard and leaves you wondering whats to come and if Ana and Christian will continue their sexual arrangements, and possible relationship.
I do recommend you to see the film and to develop your own opinion of the film, which I very much enjoyed as a heterosexual female! I loved Dakota Johnson’s openness on her nudity; very bold and confident in her body which I respect very much. Jamie Dornan also did a great job at capturing the seductiveness and mystery of Christian Grey. He tends to go shirtless very often throughout the film, but I can’t complain. The soundtrack for the film was also phenomenal, naturally it would be considering Beyonce, Sia, Ellie Goulding, The Weeknd, Frank Sinatra and Danny Elfman to name a few, were apart of the soundtrack. The music helped the film develop and transition from scene to scene and played as a bonus during the steamy love-making.
Once again, do consider watching the film, 50 Shades of Grey. Let me know your take on the film and whether or not you read the book prior to watching.