Film Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

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Fifty Shades of Grey Plot Summary:

College student Anastasia Steele’s (Dakota Johnson) life takes a turn for the erotic when she encounters enigmatic businessman Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, I’m sure you have become aware of the controversy surrounding the release of the popular book-to-film series, Fifty Shades of Grey. Based on the Twilight fan fiction turned New York Times Bestseller by E. L. James, Fifty Shades is seedy erotica that has become a pop culture phenomenon.

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I personally have read the books and from a writer’s standpoint I am rather disguised at just how successful this poorly-written series has become. Though on the other hand, I will admit that it is impossible to put the sexually-fueled novel down! Like its literary counterpart, upon first glance of the trailer, I assumed the Fifty Shades film was going to be downright abysmal. The trailer made the film more so look like a dull soap opera with light sexual innuendo. I had very little faith going into the film but I am happy to report that my expectations were exceeded — but just barely.

Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of young, virginal college student Anastasia “Ana” Steele and her relationship with wealthy, businessman Christian Grey. The two meet when Anastasia interviews Christian for her college newspaper. From that moment, the two continue to spend time together. Christian introduces Ana to his turbulent BDSM lifestyle while Ana teaches Christian the importance of romance and love. A simple yet compelling story, Fifty Shades is ultimately a story about a young woman choosing to explore her sexuality to the fullest-though many feminists and religious organizations may disagree.

Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), the film differs from the book in the sense that it seems more like a cutesy Nicholas Sparks romantic drama versus the steamy literary adaptation. Aside from the obvious Twilight references, the film is fairly entertaining and well-executed. And, protesters be gone-there is surprisingly very little sex in the film. While there is nudity, sexual dialogue and BDSM behavior, there is nothing mind blowingly risqué or shocking. In fact, the film is actually very tame. Screen writer, Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks), chooses to focus more so on Christian and Ana’s emotional relationship instead of their physical one, so no Last Tango in Paris-esque scenes here folks!

Despite their lack of chemistry and Jamie Dornan’s inability to conceal his European accent, the film’s leads give fairly decent performances. Dakota Johnson manages to breathe life into the dull and one-dimensional Anastasia Steele making her quirky, sassy and adorable on screen. I was relieved to find myself rooting for Ana while watching the film despite the fact that I could care less about her character while reading the book. Jamie Dornan serves his purpose well in the film making the robotic Christian Grey a little more charming and human. Though Dornan is certainly handsome and charming, it’s his leading lady who carries the film, though that honestly isn’t that hard of a task to execute.

Bottom Line: However tame and watered down it may be, Fifty Shades of Grey is an entertaining romantic drama that should please fans of E.L. James’ novel. However, for viewers searching for a more passionate and sexually risqué film I recommend looking elsewhere.

Rating: 5 out of 10


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Mallory Delchamp is a writer, model, and performer living in Manhattan. You can routinely read her film and music reviews here on Pop-Break and you can also check out her work on zumic.comand nytheatreguide.com. A social media and pop culture enthusiast, Mallory also enjoys musical theatre, superhero films, and drinking coffee. You can visit Mallory at her website, www.mallorydelchamp.com
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