Dakota Johnson   Jamie Dornan

Fifty Shades of Grey

 Based on a book that could easily be called graphic written porn, the film adaptation of the bestselling phenomenon dubbed “Mommy Porn” is anything but exciting. Sam Taylor Johnson directs the controversial film, but her touch as an indie filmmaker isn’t felt in this rather boring and underdeveloped franchise. The moment we see this meek lead character falling through the manipulative Christian Grey’s door, it’s clear what the perception of women will be, even through the eyes of a female writer and director. While the book offers graphic sexual detail, the film is pretty vanilla as far as nudity and where it’s willing to go.

​ The most interesting thing about Anastasia Steele (Johnson) before she meets billionaire Christian Grey (Dornan) is that her roommate and best friend Kate (Eloise Mumford) lets the English literature major borrow her Benz from time to time. However, the moment Mr. Grey extends his hand to help Anna off the floor she seems willing to do whatever it takes to keep him in her life. Fast forward past all the niceties and flirting, Christian makes it very clear he doesn’t want a relationship, he doesn’t “make love” and his only interest is the BDSM that will happen in his “play room” once she signs the contract and becomes his. Anna falls in love with him rather quickly and begins to see a soft side that might be worth the painful or pleasurable activities he has planned.

​ The author E.L. James admits the story was conceived as Twilight fan fiction but has grown into something else entirely. It won’t take the viewer long to recognize the similarities within the Twilight characters, events and love story. However, there is much more depth, romance and honesty within the Twilight films than you will find her (never thought I would say that). Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith) and Dornan are anything from a first choice; they are just the only actors desperate enough to take on roles that they will never be able to outlive.

​ The screenplay is the equal to a third rate grocery store novel with dialogue so bad the theater might sound like an audience watching a comedy. There are scenes that make the viewer uncomfortable, but it’s in all the wrong ways. Fifty Shades of Grey is never erotic, sexy or even suspenseful. It’s a drawn out bore that teases more with information and character background than it does with steamy sex scenes. The writing is so bad that it’s easy to miss the handful of decent moments where Anastasia actually gets the upper hand on Christian, who must have control of every situation. There was no way to faithfully adapt a novel like this without getting an NC-17 rating; however, what we have here is 50 Shades of Forgettable.

Final Thought – For a subject about erotic sex, this film is terribly dull, boring and lifeless from the script to the performances.

Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase