Monday, 23 February 2015

Film Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

As I mentioned yesterday, I took a trip to Glasgow with some friends. One of the main purposes of the trip was to go and see the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.

Now I have to say here, this is really not the sort of thing that I would choose to see by myself. I've avoided the books thus far and I really suspected that the film would be a complete dud (I did consider using the word 'flop' there but that might have been an inappropriate pun). Surprisingly, I quite enjoyed it.

I think that a lot of that was because I had absolutely no expectations, in fact, I wasn't expecting it to be very good at all. My plan was to have a laugh on the journey to Glasgow, enjoy my meal and the conversation, eat some popcorn in a dark room full of strangers for two hours and then have a laugh on the way home. The fact that the film was better than I expected was a bonus.

At the beginning I got the impression that they were setting up a theme with lots of grey and drab looking city scenery. So the cinematography was pretty sharp. The dialogue was often pretty cringe-worthy, but the actors did their best with it. Considering Anastasia got told off for her eye-rolling, I couldn't help but think I would have been in a lot of trouble because I couldn't help but giggle at what seemed to be inappropriate moments. Whenever I thought that the dialogue was a bit poor I reminded myself of some of the reviews of the book that I've seen so I guess that often the source material was to blame.

Luckily a fair amount of the the dialogue seemed to be intentionally funny. I checked afterwards with the group I was with that I was laughing at the right bits and the general consensus was that they were meant to be funny, so I guess they were meant to be taken that way. I do kind of wish that I'd counted the number of times Ana said 'oh' because it had to be twenty or more, that got kind of funnier as the film went on, though again, I'm not sure it was supposed to be. But having looked that up online it would appear that in the book 'Oh my' is a bit of a catchphrase for her.

As for the characters, well Christian Grey is a bit of a weird bastard isn't he? There's someone who clearly has attachment issues. Abused and neglected child of a mother with a drug problem? Check! Adopted at a young age? Check! Unhealthy relationships? Check! Uncomfortable with physical contact? Check! I couldn't help but think it from about halfway through the film, which was kind of distracting.

(Side note: I keep typing his name as 'Christina Grey'. Oops).

The thing was, it could have been a different story, with a man coming to terms with his past and learning how to have normal relationships, instead we got the Red Room of Pain. Quick aside, the bit where this room is actually described in those words was slightly hilarious because there's a standing joke amongst my colleagues (who I was seeing the film with) that I have a Red Room of Pain in my house (I have no idea how this joke started but I suspect it was around the time that I mentioned one of my knitting pattern books has a pattern for a knitted ball gag *ahem* I've never made one and the room is a joke, honest). When it got mentioned the people at either end of the group I was with turned to look at me and we had a good giggle.

I quite liked Ana. The actress playing her kind of looks like an older version of the way I picture Abby in my story 'Behind the Scenes', which made it kind of awkward to watch when she kept taking her clothes off because Abby does not do that in 'Behind the Scenes' (though maybe she will in the rewrite, perhaps that's what the story needs). At the beginning I thought she overdid the unexperienced, shy student thing a bit, but as the film went on I liked the way she played things. I sympathised with her and did feel that she was being taken advantage of, but then thrilled when it looked like she was standing up to Grey.

Apparently the director wanted the film to end by Ana standing up to Christian by saying 'Red' (their safe word) but instead the author insisted that she just say his name. I was a bit surprised when the film ended. The screen went black and I was expecting another scene to kind of wrap things up. If they'd gone the direction that the director wanted to go I would've known that it was definitely the end of the film.

And the sex stuff? Well there was a lot more of her than him, which I guess was kind of advertising to the wrong audience because about ninety percent of the people in that screening were women and I bet they were mostly hoping to see a man without clothes on, rather than a woman. I know what boobs look like seeing as I have a pair of my own, so I didn't really need quite so many closeups of someone else's, thanks.

It was all done relatively tastefully, as tastefully as scenes involving whips and rope and a women being chained up can be. There were lots of artistic moments as the camera moved down someone's body and then cut away before it got to the important bits, or someone was lying down with their leg bent in just such a way that things were carefully concealed.

Basically you didn't see very much. Apart from the boobs. And a fair bit of her bum. To be honest, there's more full frontal nudity in Confetti.

So did I enjoy the film?

Yeah, I kind of did. I didn't necessarily like all the characters and the ways they behaved, but it wasn't all bad. It's not a film I would've gone out of my way to see but I'm glad I've seen it, if nothing else because I can join in on conversations about it at work now.

Will I read the books?

At some point, yes. I've got the Twilight books on my list, I'm planning on those being my next Chapter-by-Chapter read. Perhaps I'll tackle the Fifty Shades books after that. Perhaps, just so I can comment on those having read them, rather than based on everyone else's thoughts of them.

Actually, I spent a bit of time googling for quotes from the books yesterday and they look totally hilarious. I'm not entirely convinced that the who Fifty Shades thing isn't actually some sort of crazy parody from what I've seen. Perhaps I should've gone with that for my 'a funny book' week of my Reading Challenge.

Will I buy the film?

Who knows? It's good for a giggle and I am really curious about how many times Ana actually says 'Oh'. I'd quite like to do it as a blow-by-blow (is that poor word choice again?) review on here, though that's quite a change isn't it? The animated Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Grey, I may have to up the rating of this blog!


  1. I stayed away from the books after reading quite a few excerpts and seeing that it just wasn't written all that well. I love reading romance and even erotica but it has to be well written and these books just aren't. I doubt I will see the movie, just doesn't sound like one I would enjoy. Glad you liked it though.

    1. I can't help but wonder at how it came to be published considering some of the snippets I've read online, it's the purplest of purple prose!


Let me know what you think. :-)