Even before Fifty Shades of Grey premiered on February 13 there was controversy. A lot of people, like me, groaned. Another awful rehash of Twilight but WITH SEX! Ugh. Some people, stereotypically twi-hards and their ilk, were enthusiastic about the coming film. Members of the BDSM (Bondage-Discipline-Dominance-Submission-Sadism-Masochism) community, which plays a huge role in the film, are as split as the general public. Good? Bad? What’s the deal with this movie?
I think it would impossible to review this film without comparing it to Twilight. The two will remain inextricably linked in my mind, and, indeed, Fifty Shades began much the same way as its predecessor. Quiet, bookish girl who inexplicably has men throwing themselves at her meets impossibly handsome and inaccessible boy. Instant attraction. Intense moments, expensive presents, a few warnings; this guy has a secret. Only instead of being a vampire, Christian Grey is a sadist. Big surprise to anyone who’s seen the trailers.
As far as the movie itself goes, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. In some ways it was better. Ana was a lot more headstrong than I had expected, which was nice. Christian at least pretended to have character depth and his backstory made sense of his actions in some ways. The actors were decent.
As far as the BDSM controversy goes, I will say that while the movie did depict abuse, not BDSM (read up on SSC if you don’t believe me) the relationship was consistent with the characters and made sense in context. If anything, I think the worst thing about it was that the relationship was advertised as legitimate BDSM, although the lack of character development wasn’t too great either. Other than that, it wasn’t completely awful.
Ultimately, like Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey is a fantasy. A lonely girl meets a hot, troubled bad-boy and she can change him. She can fix him. She can make him “normal” as Mr. Grey himself would put it. I think that this movie, at least so far, actually does something to dispel that silly notion, at least towards the end. You can see the emotional toll their relationship is taking on Ana, and I’m honestly impressed that this movie would do that. It definitely wasn’t what I was expecting, and not as bad as I had anticipated. For me, however, the soundtrack was still the best part, even if it was a little over-the-top sometimes.
Post-Movie Verdict: I wouldn’t buy the DVD or ever want to see it again . . . but, I also don’t want to tear my eyes out, and, hey, that works for me.