Review – 50 Shades of Grey

The highly controversial movie debuted in theaters this Valentine’s Day weekend. The internet has been abuzz about it for weeks before its opening. Rumors about who was going to play Christian Grey went on even longer. Having read the first book in the series which I found disinteresting enough to not bother with the next two, I thought maybe the movie would improve what the book was lacking (like that ever happens). So for our dinner and a movie Valentine’s date, hubby and I stood in the line that everyone eyed to see 50 Shades of Grey.

If you are offended by nakedness of any kind, BDSM behavior, or sex in general, you should probably sit this one out. If you aren’t interested in shallow storylines that just don’t really work, don’t bother. If you’re looking for a good example of what the BDSM lifestyle entails, do not look to this movie to give it to you. If you want to see this movie so you can flood the internet with petitions to ban it because it’s an example of abuse, please don’t waste your time…and everyone else’s on the internet.

Anastasia is a literary student who does her roommate a favor that puts her life on a major detour. She attempts to interview Christian Grey, a magnetic, rich, well-dressed businessman with a supposedly tortured soul and a dark secret. Chemistry apparently happens during the interview and Christian decides he wants to get to know Anastasia better…no he doesn’t…yes, oh God yes, he does. Anastasia decides that, even though she’s terrified of Christian’s dark side, she still wants to get to know him and his “secret” better…no she doesn’t…wait, yes she does. This is about as much tension as this movie manages to muster out of a situation that is rife with potential to be a veritable tightrope.

Instead, the sold out theater of movie-goers I was with did a whole lot of laughing. So did I. It was like a cheesey wannabe porn flick. The ones that make a big production of making a storyline so it’s not so much like a taboo thing. Making a real case for Christian Grey as a twisted and tortured soul was never quite convincing because of this cheesiness.

Is there abuse in this movie? That is arguable. I know, I know “but what about the scene at the end???” I’m not going to give it away, I’m trying not to create any spoilers here. What I can say is the same thing I said when I started this review, if you are offended or triggered by BDSM behavior, you probably don’t want to go there. If you don’t know what BDSM is, please, look it up. Yes, the last scene is difficult and even more so because it plays like an over-the-top effort to try shock us into investing in the belief in Christians poor, tortured, soul. The effect fails miserably and we end up grateful for the abrupt ending to the movie, which I found…unsatisfying.

In my humble opinion, there are only a few groups of people who could be truly offended by this movie.

  1. Those who are truly triggered by the types of sex acts portrayed in this movie.
  2. The BDSM community in general, this film makes an already stigmatized group of people seem even worse.
  3. Anyone who believes that not-so-great writing should make it to print, let alone film.

Bottom line, 50 Shades of Grey is not nearly as dangerous to your average, fairly well adjusted person as certain people would have you believe. It is the same as any other movie, simple entertainment. An evening (or maybe afternoon, if you’re into that sort of thing) diversion that I wouldn’t pay to see in the theater. Wait for the DVD or Blueray unless you’re like me and just can’t stay out of a good down and dirty controversial conversation (no pun intended).

two stars

What did you think of 50 Shades of Grey? If you’ve read the books or seen the movie please feel free to share your opinions in the comments.