We all love romantic thrillers and erotic movies in cinema, films with sexual tension, erotic desire, intrigue and lots of sex nearly always score well at the box office, for example Basic Instict ( 1991 ) and the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey is not exception. Reviews generally have not been kind to this film adaptation, best decribed as ‘mixed,’ but so far the movie is scoring well with cinema audiences, particularly internationally in Europe.
As for the novel if the book sales figures are accurate then “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by author E. L. James, has been purchased in stores or downloaded onto ebook readers by more than a hundred million unique people from around the globe.
Finally, after an enticing theatrical marketing campaign, which took to extreme lengths the art of the peekaboo, the film adaptation of the novel is finally here. By the way for the unfamiliar, Fifty Shades of Grey has absolutely nothing to do with what color to paint your house.
Rather it is the sort of erotic fantasy film that girls go in groups to see or if your really brave you take your date. Lets see how the film stacks up against the novel in our Fifty Shades of Grey movie review.
Bringing such a novel as Fifty Shades of Grey to the big screen is no easy task for any film studio; after all who could conceivably portray Christian Grey, the awkward young billionaire. Nothing has preoccupied the novel’s devotees, these are known collectively as the Jamesians, as we must think of them quite as much the young actors who will bear the responsibility of portraying the proper occupants of the central roles on the big cinema screen.
Which young actress after all could possibly play Anastasia Steele, the English literature student who is also, as we gasp to learn, one of the leading virgins of Vancouver, Washington?
Many actors and actress combinations of differing experience levels were suggested and choosing suitable actors to match the perceptions of character presented in the novel would be no easy task.
Anastasia Steele or Ana, as she is normally called, first encounters billionaire Christian Grey at Grey House, which is home to Grey Enterprises, in Seattle. (There is a lot of grey going on here already) She is there in the place of her room mate, the room mate who was meant to interview Grey for the college paper but became ill at the last minute.
Anastasia Steele, upon first meeting Christian, stumbles quite literally over the threshold and then becomes tongue tied and unable to form her words. She begins to relax however as Grey relates his many attributes. “I’ve always been good at people,” he says for example. Young executive Christian Grey is a people person we learn, a man interested in “what motivates them—what incentivizes them.”
You might think that any woman should run a good way away from such a man, someone who analyses other people so intently. During the encounter Grey lends her a pencil, bearing the word “Grey,” the tip of which she rubs against her lip. The first hint of the eroticism and sexual energy to come as the story further unfolds.
Grey and Ana next meet at the shops, in a nearby home hardware store, where Christian is purchasing home ware, items such as masking tape, cable ties, and binding rope. “You’re the complete serial killer,” Ana says to him. Of course Christian Grey is not at the hardware store merely to put shelves up or to indulge any kind of DIY fetish, or to transform his executive office.
Rather it transpires that he has a private passion and hobby, the hidden interest behind what James calls “his odd I’ve got a whopping big secret smile.” The Red Room is concealed down a long corridor of his private apartment and behind a locked door; a mysterious and secret room that entertains visitors with the tools of domestic torture and forbidden lust. In the Red Room James is free to express and liberate himself as a “dominant,” in this a sanctuary of debauchery where he chastises young women who wish to be treated as such.
In this regard and that of the visits to the Red Room James comes across as an obsessive character: “I’m incapable of leaving you alone,” he tells Ana, although in knowing this fact it becomes an erotic notion that appears to stimulate and arouse her. While upon witnessing this direct revelation many other women might head quickly for the distant hills. Ana although initially shocked is simultaneously excited and sensually thrilled by the prospect and desires more.
So how does the film adaptation of Fifty Shades, directed by Sam Taylor Johnson, measure up when set against the novel of the same? And what’s in it for casual viewers unfamiliar with the novel? Well, we lose Ana’s introduction to the act of fellatio, set precariously in a bathtub as while appropriate for low rent movies of disrepute it is not something yet for the palette of modern cinema goers. The film also passes over the breakfast scene that she enjoys with Christian Grey at an International House of Pancakes. Some further cuts in the text are made for the films run time and to improve the editorial cohesion and pace of events.
The film is largely well acted throughout and with reference to scenes cut from the novel not entirely too long either, and sombrely photographed. No new reader of Fifty Shades of Grey however forgiving, could open “Fifty Shades of Grey,” browse a few pages, and reasonably conclude that the author was writing in her first language. While some fans herald the novel as a classic of its generation, the author has in reality tapped into a elusive truth that often evades more fluid and experienced writers, the regret at the failure of our loved ones to acquire their own heliport and super yacht.
The film though is bland with good taste topped with erotic naughtiness, that circles within the limits of the R rating and what is feasibly possible to show to adult audiences in theatres without the film becoming overtly pornographic. The characterisations and the style invoked by lavish backdrops and wealth encourage viewers to question just how much of a sex film can this really be. Films of years past, erotic thrillers have always tried to push the sexual envelope, ultimately in cinema there are always limits that films like these keep on hitting time and time again.
“Fifty Shades of Grey” was released to cinemas in time for Valentine’s Day. That’s a brave choice with a movie such as this, since the film adaptation is not really about romance and more about sexual prowess, wealth and power. Equally Fifty Shades of Grey is an unlikely film choice for couples and more a film for groups of women at all ages to sit back and giggle over. Fifty Shades is one of those films you only need to watch once and particularly if you don’t fancy reading the book.