With the theater crowded to capacity, business women and rich housewives alike occupy each seat, anxiously awaiting their fantasies, once written in ink, soon to be played out in front of them on the big screen. Men had their Die Hard and Stars Wars while the teens had their Twilight, and now, women across the globe can finally hear those sweet words, “Mr. Grey will see you now.”
Since making its print debut in 2011, Fifty Shades of Grey has been multiplying its way into the hands of women across the globe. Granted, E.L. James will likely never be up for a Pulitzer, but damn can she make a damaged soul and bondage look more attractive than your typical Prince Charming. Fifty Shades has become a widespread topic of conversation between women, whether they’re salivating over its sensual and erotic scenes or debating how it’s a humiliating and abusive piece of cheap porn. Regardless, when news spread that Fifty Shades of Grey would be adapted to film every avid Grey reader began imagining their ideal actor of choice to fill Christian Grey’s shoes.
The power of the books was the freedom they gave each reader to imagine their own ideal Christian Grey. While the books deliver heavily passionate chemistry between its two main characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, the same can’t be said with its film adaptation. Dakota Johnson fulfills the image Steele to a tee, body language and all. From her plain but subtly attractive appearance to the way she bites down on her lip when she’s nervous, Johnson is Ms. Steele. However, the same can’t be said for Johnson’s counterpart, Northern Irish actor, Jamie Dornan. As a former Calvin Klein underwear model, one might assume his physical assets deemed him worthy of the title Christian Grey, but there’s more to the character than his sultry looks. Dornan fails in presenting Grey as a powerful force whose presence stops women in their tracks. His delivery, stiff and forgettable, Dornan’s quick casting into the film is more noticeable than his character’s overwhelming heightened sex appeal. As the film progresses and Dornan’s performance remains unaffected, the audience’s desire for the original choice for Christian Grey, Charlie Hunnam, increases, one monotone delivered sentence at a time.
Where Dornan’s performance as Grey and chemistry with Johnson lacked, director Sam Taylor-Johnson makes up with the film’s visually appealing and quality shots, amplifying the audience’s interest through a mood-enticing soundtrack. Due to the trilogy’s poor writing and often obnoxious dialogue, its controversial sex scenes are what paved its way onto countless best-selling novel lists. The film took the opportunity to translate the book’s brainless dialogue and create an attractive piece of art that captivates its audience’s attention. Taylor-Johnson had stated pre-filming that her take on Fifty Shades would consist of more than just soft porn and would be approach the S&M scenes with care. Beyonce’s sensual remix of “Crazy in Love” slowly increasing in the background as Dornan and Johnson play out scenes in the infamous playroom exemplifies how you can expand a bondage scene into a safe and alluring act. True to the book, the film accurately captures the intense and highly erotic sex scenes without going into NC-17 rating and resembling porn. Let’s be honest–no one is going to see Fifty Shades of Grey for its unique creativity and thought-provoking storyline. They’re going for the romance and sex.
Fifty Shades of Grey won’t be gracing its way through acclaimed awards shows nor will it be on AMC’s Top 100 Movies list. It’s entertainment, pure and simple. For those who were sucked into its trilogy, you’ll likely find it fun and for those who are stewing over the fact this ill-written piece of literature has become so wide-spread, be happy that there will only be three movies as opposed to Twilight’s five.