Film Review: 50 Shades of Unfulfillment

Kevin Cole

I wanted to like Fifty Shade of Grey, truly I did. I had no problem getting it up for the book, but the film adaptation left me with only half a boner.

Fifty Shades tells the story of a young journalist, Ana, who by a twist of fate finds herself interviewing young entrepreneur Christian Grey. The two end up in a legally binding contract that enables them to have casual sex on the regular, but this sex is kinkier than most sex depicted in today’s films. It involves whips and wax and a whole oeuvre of BDSM paraphernalia. There’s hardly a need to sum up the story; most of you have already read what many morning news anchors called “an instant classic.” On the off-chance that you haven’t read Fifty Shades, it follows a pretty standard formula: Girl meets boy, boy is mysterious and powerful, girl falls for boy, girl signs a fuck contract with boy, sex occurs, girl’s heart gets broken, girl leaves boy, to be continued.

Dakota Johnson does an incredible job portraying the role Ana. She is equal parts adorable, sexy, unassuming and willing to bend to Christian’s every whim. Each of these added together and she easily makes up 100% of the character Ana is fleshed out to be in the novels. It’s a shame the same can’t be said for Jamie Dornan, who portrays Christian Grey.

Dornan’s previous experience largely hails from television, namely roles on Once Upon A Time and The Fall. However, my problem isn’t with Jamie Dornan’s lack of experience. Of all the leading men in Hollywood, it seems odd that they’d cast someone so unbelievably masculine.  Take a quick glance at Jamie Dornan, and you’ll see a bizarre triple DNA combination of Orlando Bloom, Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman’s body in peak Wolverine form. It’s almost freakish how attractive he is, and this interpretation of Christian Grey is sure to become another classic example of Hollywood changing a book in order to gain box office success.

I’ve been a fan of Fifty Shades ever since E.L. James circulated it as work of Twilight fanfiction, and as far as I’m concerned, the best Christian Grey will always be the everyman. For women, it’s nice to see Christian Grey portrayed by the sort of man their husbands could never hope to become, but the books left the interpretation of Mr. Grey much more vague. The character of Christian Grey is much more believable as an underweight guy, the kind who reads for fun until he finds a book he really likes and then he reads that continuously to a point where he has to tell his friends that he’s a slow reader so they don’t realize this is the eighth go-round. Christian Grey is the kind of guy who wears a hoodie and a T-shirt to work, not a suit, and while he loves getting kinky, he’s also a little asthmatic, so he needs to take a breather now and then. It’s very difficult to get into a movie when the girl of your dreams is on screen boning someone who’s not you.

3.5 Stars

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