“Because I’m Fifty Shades of fucked up.”
This quote somewhere in the middle of the movie when Ana, (played by Dakota Johnson) is probing Christian (played by Jamie Dornan) as to why his relationships are the way they are, basically sums up Christian’s whole character. And explains why he wants to do women the way he does. It also basically sums up the whole movie.
This is not a movie that can be taken seriously. From the get go, it is flawed. From the acting to the flow, it is as if the producer didn’t have the luxury of really getting the length and tone that the story needed to do the book justice. Granted, turning a first person novel into a believable script for the big screen isn’t easy. Twilight, which FSoG was originally a fanfiction of – and it showed, a lot – also suffered from this not so easy transition.
The character development was also of some concern as it didn’t give you time to really get to know Christian or Ana. It just threw you straight into the story, and for those who haven’t read the books this doesn’t help endear them to the characters and their predicaments.
Dakota’s portrayal of Ana did hit the sweet spot in places, her feistiness and willingness to stand up for herself came through to the point where Christian is flummoxed by her behaviour and can’t quite handle it. Jamie’s portrayal of Christian was quite wooden to begin with but I subscribe this to the pacing of the film and the fact that a majority of the dialogue was lifted straight from the text of the book and didn’t quite fit the pacing of the film. He did become more believable as the movie progressed.
The supporting cast/characters were all two dimensional and served only as minimal support; I was particularly disappointed by the portrayal of Taylor who was one of my favourite’s in the book.
Without giving anything away, the more controversial scenes in the movie, for want of an apt description, were quite tame.
The biggest thing that I did get from it though was that there was no abuse. At least not when it came to the physical side of things. Ana consented to everything he did to her. She even tells Christian to do his worst so she can make her decision. In fact I think the movie was more explicit than the book in showing that Ana wasn’t going to submit to him and that she had the control.
Topping from the bottom.
There were some flags of emotional abuse from Christian when he’s attempting to pursue her, but Ana’s naivety in some sense protected her from that. And, as I’ve read the books and actually know where Christian is coming from, it’s understandable that he comes across that way.
Of course, due to the pacing of the movie it doesn’t give any due consideration to the development of Ana and Christian’s relationship; however, I don’t really understand all the hype against the movie from media and other groups who have vocally been so negative about it.
It’s honestly not that bad. It may be triggering for some people, I will grant that, but it’s definitely not worth all the vitriol that’s been cast its way. Yes, it doesn’t portray a healthy relationship; yes I agree it’s not what people should hold up as an example of a healthy BDSM relationship, but where Christian is coming from it makes complete sense.
To be fair the movie’s biggest problem was that it was not made well. It had a ‘teen movie/b-grade’ vibe to it and I was left feeling that it was one of those movies that would normally be forgotten in the annals of time, except for its controversial subject matter. And it honestly just reminded me of Twilight most of the time. Ironic that.
Still, here’s my advice. If you want to watch the movie, go watch it and don’t let people tell you not to for whatever reason.
Make your own informed opinion on the movie. Then you can join the discourse on what the movie is portraying and what it’s not.
I don’t give ratings for movies usually, but I give it a 3/5 for trying.
Suggestion: Read all three books to understand the story better.