I eventually saw the film earlier than I anticipated because two of my lovely girl friends bought me a ticket (and popcorn!) and made it a girls night out event for which I am so grateful!
So to say that I was eager to see the film translation of the book was one of the biggest understatements of this year thus far! To the point that I was already squirming in my seat of giddy schoolgirl excitement even before the trailers began rolling.
But now onto the juicy part of this post, the actual review. Again this post represents only my opinions and points of view on what I felt the movie portrayed. If you prefer to, beforehand, read my book review then just click here.
The very first thing I noticed was that for the first 30 minutes of the film, the pace of it was very quick. Too quick. From the brief introduction of the Christian and Anastasia to Kate’s brief appearance all the way to Anastasia and Christian’s first kiss happened, in what felt like, a blink of an eye. Both me and one of my friends were surprised at how fast everything was happening. I completely understand that when a book, that is hundreds of pages long, is adapted to a screenplay format that things get changed or go missing or get completely revamped. But I felt that because of that, precious details were lost.
Like how Kate is so overprotective of Anastasia almost as a big sister would be or how sexually charged the environment is on the morning after Anastasia was drunk and Christian brought her to his house and they had breakfast together. Or how they talked so much more before the idea of the contract even took place.
- Cheesy (ness)
A couple of times, some of the lines would feel either too sudden or too cliché. Sometimes both. Like the screenwriter just threw them in there because there was no space anywhere else in the storyline. For example, the moment Anastasia tells Christian that to be an English Literature student, you have to be a romantic, which leads him to just suddenly ditch everything and decides that their coffee date is over. Or when, right after that, he saves Anastasia from being run over by a bicycle rider and he, first of all, just immediately puts his hand on her cheek when they are not that well acquainted yet and then proceeds to say something along the lines of “I’m not the man for you.” Seriously, the only thing missing was rain and the sound of a quartet playing in the background.
And my ‘favourite’ one is when, out of the blue, he says to Ana “If you were mine, you wouldn’t walk for a week” which felt completely sudden and out of context (and I can vouch that the rest of the audience members felt the same way) and then leans over the bed and takes a bite of her toast. It felt too porn style cheesy to be sexy, to be honest.
- Belt whipping
This scene was by far the one I was most petrified about because when I read it, I remember feeling a wave of disgust wash over me as I felt the pain of every lash he inflicted, alongside Anastasia. And as both a woman and a feminist, I was not comfortable with that. And seeing it on screen just made it worse. I felt very conflicted about it long after the film ended and the credits were rolling. Part of me understands that Ana decided to let him ‘go at it’ because she wanted to see how far he would actually go and then when she realized what that actually meant she preferred to not give him the satisfaction of saying the safe word to make him stop. Part of her wanted to endure it for him and for herself, to make herself believe that she could do it. But then another part of me, that is still mildly dictated by what society keeps yelling in my ears, is that that scene at a first glance/impression is abuse. Everyone has their own opinions about it and this is just mine. But I commend Dakota and Jamie for having the belief and courage to bring that scene to life in the best way possible because they believed that the audiences would understand the undertones and the motives behind it. So kudos.
Now onto the parts that I enjoyed:
- Sex scenes
To be honest, I enjoyed the sex scenes because of they way they were shot. The DoP, Seamus McGarvey, made them look so elegant and artistically beautiful in a way that made them feel intimate, as a viewer on the outside of it. As any sex scene should be. I never got the feeling that those scenes were cheap or trashy. Even whilst Dakota was fully unclothed and tied to a bed being flogged. I didn’t feel like she was diminished or degraded. But actually she looked empowered because she was at the end of receiving pleasure from Christian. It was comfortable to watch, in a weird way. And yes, it was hot. There I said it. Now shut up about it. Let’s move on.
- Anastasia’s portrayal
One thing that I was fervently hoping for but at the same time, I wasn’t sure would happen was that Dakota would bring more ‘life’ to Anastasia’s character, And I am glad to say that that was exactly what happened! She was sassy, funny and sexy when she needed to be. I felt that Dakota brought an inner strength and independence to the character that was lacking in the book which led to the showcase of the beginning stages of the woman Anastasia was always meant to be. For example, when she clearly broke his ‘no drinking’ rule when with her mother in Georgia and unashamedly cites the article and paragraph of the rule from the contract; how she controlled the atmosphere in the negotiation scene leading to a power shift between her and Christian and, my favourite part, when she stood up for herself, keeping her head high and not shedding a single tear when she left him. Which lead him to go after her and the moment she tells him “No!”, without breaking eye contact and he simply stops and becomes rooted to the floor. I was either doing thumbs up or heart shapes when that was happening like the fan girl that I am. #noshame
- Christian’s vulnerability
I felt that Jamie brought new levels of emotion to Christian Grey. There were a few glimpses here and there throughout the film that made it more understandable why he is the way he is. For example, when he tells her the truth about his biological mother, unable to look at her, even though she is silently asleep; when he tries and fails to contain his fear turned to anger when Anastasia confronts him about his issue of being touched or his facial expression after he belts Anastasia and she looks at him like he is a sick bastard, a monster, and he just looks like a ‘little lost boy’ with nowhere to go, no where to run and no one to go to. I felt like it was believable how throughout the movie, it become more and more visible the tiny chinks in Christian’s armour slowly made themselves shown and he starts to slowly lose his precious self control.
There is a lot more that I could say but then this post would be even bigger than it already is!
I’d say it was enjoyable regardless of it’s negative points but very little films are completely all positive so that being said I would watch it again.
DISCLAIMER: The photos shown in this blog post are not mine.