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50 Shades of Messed up

Photo Courtesy of Google Images
Photo Courtesy of Google Images

By Christy Blevins


The night of Feb. 12 gave way to the night premiere of perhaps the most talked about and most controversial film of the year, Fifty Shades of Grey.

We all know the basic story from either shyly reading the book, hearing friends discuss it, reading articles, or something else. But, in case you’ve decided to keep your innocence until now, here’s a little recap.

The Twilight fan fiction follows the story of a shy and innocent Literature (ironic considering E.L. James’ writing) student, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). Steele’s life turns upside down when she goes to interview the young, beautiful, and wealthy Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and realizes that she is attracted to him and he to her. Unable to stay away from each other, Grey decides he wants Ana on his own terms and invites her to first sign a contract, and then, to join in with his rather interesting tastes, which of course include tying her up in his Red Room of Pain, handcuffing her to the walls, and, I’ll let you figure that out. The story follows the struggle of Ana to enter into this world and Christian’s struggle to control everything.

Now, I am not well-versed in how this movie stacks up to the book. I took my stab at it and fortunately for my brain cells, I couldn’t make my way through the horrible writing and so I took it upon myself to follow the cinematic creation of this story, rather than the literary works.

Contrary to the worrying of grandmas in the world, the film directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson was hardly as naughty as the book was said to be, and actually saved most of the glistening sex scenes for the end of the two hour movie. In fact, the film was more comedic than sexy in my opinion, although you wouldn’t be able to tell from the furious moans coming from the audience of “barely old enough to get into an R movie” girls out on a Thursday.

The film did show full frontal female nudity, but gave the audience glossed-over sex scenes showing no real grit and that tried to stray away from any type of bruises, and painful moments. The audience almost gets a glimpse of Dornan in his full glory, but hey, it’s only R-rated, not NC-17.

Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding, and Sia’s soundtrack purring in the background may have actually helped, and possibly saved, the scenes of handcuffing, nibbling, nuzzling, and whipping. The movie needed a bangin’, no pun intended, soundtrack considering they basically tried to recreate Twilight in a fiercer manner.

What’s really the most disappointing fact about this movie though is the script writing. I didn’t think the script would be worse than E.L. James’ writing for the books, and it wasn’t, but it sure got close. My only thought that explains this is what I whispered during the film – “Real people don’t talk like that,” – and the lack of common sense of Ana’s character is just resounding.

Whether it was intentional or not, Johnson and Dornan’s chemistry and comedic acting may have saved the film. Johnson played Ana as mousy, and awkwardly as possible, adding to the strange style of Ana (who uses a flip phone) and her pokerfaced delivery of lines such as “What’s a butt plug?” was hands down the best part of this film. Dornan did great to combat the peculiar delivery of Johnson and furrowed his brow and glared excessively to really ground most scenes. This all added into Mr. Grey’s sense of mystery and lack of expressing emotion in a normal fashion.  Not to mention Dornan’s most dramatic and equally hilarious line, “I’m fifty shades of f***ed up!” played straight into the unintentional comedy.

The movie itself steamed up the box office on opening weekend bringing in more than $82 million and is still racking it in. It was expected make more than $90 million over the four day holiday, and hit about $95 million.

Sequels are in the works for Fifty Shades, but it is currently unclear if Sam Taylor-Johnson will direct them, as creative differences have caused conflicts with E.L. James. Shockingly, E.L. James wishes the movies to be racier and Taylor-Johnson wishes for more of a plot rather than a collection of S&M scenes.

All in all, the film is not as racy and sex-filled as advertised, but is an interesting film to watch and leads to some interesting questions.