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Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey
02.12.2015
5 10

PLOT: When college student Anastasia Steele finds herself interviewing the very handsome and successful business man Christian Grey, she begins to fall for the mysterious stranger. However, taken by her innocence and beauty, Grey has other plans that are far more physical than a dinner and a movie.

REVIEW:
To say that we at JoBlo.com are not the target audience for FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is a massive understatement. Yet my plan was simply to go into the film with an open mind and get my BDSM on for the two hour plus Valentine’s Day release. And to be fair, at times this odd yet stylish romantic fable actually managed to entertain. Much of that credit should go to the undeniably charming and absolutely stunning Dakota Johnson. As the tempted and confused heroine Anastasia Steele, she is remarkably charismatic. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the mysterious and brooding Christian Grey - leading man Jamie Dornan gives a very one-note performance that pretty much offers only one shade of grey. Think an older, more physically fit Robert Pattinson from Twilight and you have his performance in a nutshell.

Let’s start with the plot. No, really, what is the plot? Well, there isn’t much of one. Anastasia Steele is interviewing the mysterious millionaire Christian Grey for a college paper - don’t worry folks, she is legal. The two connect, and soon he begins to pursue her as she falls for his charms (?). Yet much like a certain bloodsucker that sparkles, he has a secret, one that quite frankly is a little more interesting than that whole vampire thing. Mr. Grey loves BDSM. He doesn’t date. Whips and chains excite him. In fact, the entire film revolves around him wanting her to sign a contract so that he can use her for this explicit reason. But what about romance? Is there any heart left in this cold, yet super wealthy and handsome, man? Whatever.

Based on the novel by E.L. James, this exploration of bondage and the conflict between love and domination could have been far more risqué than it is here. As Anastasia slowly finds herself immersed in his world, she finally wants to experience just how bad it can get. This leads to a surprisingly tame sequence where she truly questions the relationship. Taking on this intense sort of drama could have been a far more provocative cinematic experience. It has an element of trashy, but only a hint of it. Christian’s “playroom” is filled with a number of toys and devices, yet we are witness to but a few - the most shocking being a belt. This is a studio film that deals with a very specific sexual practice, and with that, they play it as safe as they possible can.

So what is the point of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY? Judging from the many giggling females in the audience, it is to present this erotic subject with a little camp and hopefully some romance. And occasionally, especially in the first hour or so, the film manages to be slightly better than one would expect. Director Sam Taylor-Johnson explores this story with a very stylized collection of images. It is a pretty picture for sure with a catchy collection of modern and classic pop songs. There is even a certain amount of intentional humor that gives a much needed break to the crappy monologues about a mother on crack and other nonsense… wait until you see when he tells her about his youth.

As dull as Dornan may be, it is hard to fully blame him. The actor has given very solid performances in other roles, but Christian Grey is so generic that you’d be hard pressed to find an actor capable of pulling it off. Then of course there is Johnson. She really is a revelation here. No matter how dumb this gets, you can’t take your eye’s off her. Whether she is fully dressed or completely naked - and she is quite a bit - the actress is able to give an impressive performance no matter how stupid the dialogue gets. It’s a shame that the two don’t really spark much of a romantic fire, but again, you have to credit much of this to a thin and uninvolving screenplay.

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is by no means a masterpiece. Yet there are moments where it rises above the material thanks to the lovely Dakota Johnson who is luminous, and a director that helps paint a very pretty picture. This is not fine art. This is a trashy novel brought to life and occasionally it delivers on it. It’s a shame however that they didn’t take it just a little further and truly explore the BDSM lifestyle. Instead, they only hint at it with a handful of moments involving bondage, and a little whipping here and there. While it definitely earns its R rating with nudity on both ends, it could have pushed the envelope much further. The truth is however, it doesn’t matter one bit what the critics say about this erotically tinged romance, because the target audience will probably relish nearly all of it. Of course that means we will probably have a couple more sequels to drag this already pointless story out just to make millions of dollars off fans of the book.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:13AM on 02/14/2015
Interesting review here as I expected a site like JoBlo to rip this a new one, but it almost seems as if he is recommending it, at least for the target audience. Now mind you I am not that target audience & have no interest in seeing the movie, but I can respect an honest review. Seems they really made the movie much tamer than the actual book & maybe a smaller studio would have let the film version explore more of the BDSM, but then again I have heard even the BDSM community has condemned
Interesting review here as I expected a site like JoBlo to rip this a new one, but it almost seems as if he is recommending it, at least for the target audience. Now mind you I am not that target audience & have no interest in seeing the movie, but I can respect an honest review. Seems they really made the movie much tamer than the actual book & maybe a smaller studio would have let the film version explore more of the BDSM, but then again I have heard even the BDSM community has condemned this series for it's portrayal in the books.
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5:42PM on 02/13/2015
I really don't know why so many women (and some men) got caught up in this stuff. It's 2015, not 1985. The Interwebs have much more insight into this kind of deal than books or films do. It's something that may have worked better as a mini-series.
I really don't know why so many women (and some men) got caught up in this stuff. It's 2015, not 1985. The Interwebs have much more insight into this kind of deal than books or films do. It's something that may have worked better as a mini-series.
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8:50AM on 02/13/2015
JimmyO, you left out if you indeed scored with some cougars after this screening.
JimmyO, you left out if you indeed scored with some cougars after this screening.
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2:14PM on 03/06/2015
Curious as well!
Curious as well!
7:40AM on 02/13/2015
Oddly, with this film and Kingsman, and the possibility of American Sniper's numbers ticking up and Spongebob's dropping off, we could see the top three movies all be R. I'm not sure that's ever happened, at least not in recent memory.
Oddly, with this film and Kingsman, and the possibility of American Sniper's numbers ticking up and Spongebob's dropping off, we could see the top three movies all be R. I'm not sure that's ever happened, at least not in recent memory.
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6:56AM on 02/13/2015
There's a line in the books that sums it up for me.
"he took his socks off individually" sexy right? It's used describing the build up to one of their "passionate" moments and I cant even begin to think how that would translate to film.......xD
There's a line in the books that sums it up for me.
"he took his socks off individually" sexy right? It's used describing the build up to one of their "passionate" moments and I cant even begin to think how that would translate to film.......xD
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4:29AM on 02/13/2015
5/10 isn't bad. Expected 3/10 so I might give this a rent one day.
5/10 isn't bad. Expected 3/10 so I might give this a rent one day.
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3:45AM on 02/13/2015
I'm gonna take a stab at a prediction. Due to the huge pre-sales and terrible competition, this will be number 1 on the first weekend, easy. Then when all the fans see how disappointingly tame it is, it's going to have an enormous drop-off the second weekend, which will ruin the chances for novels aimed at a similar demographic (fingers crossed)
I'm gonna take a stab at a prediction. Due to the huge pre-sales and terrible competition, this will be number 1 on the first weekend, easy. Then when all the fans see how disappointingly tame it is, it's going to have an enormous drop-off the second weekend, which will ruin the chances for novels aimed at a similar demographic (fingers crossed)
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7:35AM on 02/13/2015
Terrible competition? Kingsman looks good to me and the reviews have been good and you can't turn the TV on without seeing an ad for it. I think we've got a nice competition brewing. Oddly, the two top grossers this weekend (and possibly the third if Spongebob's numbers drop and American Sniper's tic back up) will all be R.
Terrible competition? Kingsman looks good to me and the reviews have been good and you can't turn the TV on without seeing an ad for it. I think we've got a nice competition brewing. Oddly, the two top grossers this weekend (and possibly the third if Spongebob's numbers drop and American Sniper's tic back up) will all be R.
2:01AM on 02/13/2015

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That's not all of our rules, as they are more in-depth in the MFC sign-up. The MFC is not a free-for-all. If you want to post anonymous
So, here's the deal and it's quite simple: we don't tolerate bullying in the Strikebacks. Plain and simple. There are really only three main rules for the Strikebacks, which you can find right where you go to type in a comment:

1) Remain respectful at all times.
2) No writer abuse.
3) For all corrections, suggestions, criticisms, email us instead.

That's not all of our rules, as they are more in-depth in the MFC sign-up. The MFC is not a free-for-all. If you want to post anonymous comments and troll the site and other users then this simply isn't the place for you. The Strikeback exists PURELY to discuss the topic at hand in a respectful manner amongst fellow like-minded fans. Let's be honest, we're pretty damn lenient as it is, so it's not asking a lot. You may not agree with what everyone has to say and that's fine. You can debate, disagree, etc., but bullying, harassment, threats, insults etc. will not be tolerated. This is a fan site, run by fans, created to share our passion for all types of films, not a place to bully folks in the hallway and troll the rule-abiding population. It is NOT your right to post here, it is a privilege.

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1:19AM on 02/13/2015
I find it ironic you hint Twilight, since Fifty Shades started as a Twilight fanfic.
I find it ironic you hint Twilight, since Fifty Shades started as a Twilight fanfic.
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12:53AM on 02/13/2015

Alas, Guaranteed Sequels

Apparently there are 2 other books in the series. There will definitely be more 50 Shades movies. There may be so much story to tell that they'll split one or more of the books into 2 films... (gonna be sick!)
Apparently there are 2 other books in the series. There will definitely be more 50 Shades movies. There may be so much story to tell that they'll split one or more of the books into 2 films... (gonna be sick!)
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11:56PM on 02/12/2015

Kudos, JimmyO, for give this film a shot

It sounds like Sam Taylor-Johnson and Dakota Johnson worked overtime to try and elevate the material. It's a shame there wasn't much to elevate.

Hopefully the cast and crew move on to bigger and better things. And hopefully E.L. James fans suddenly wake up and say, "Wow, this woman is a total hack!"
It sounds like Sam Taylor-Johnson and Dakota Johnson worked overtime to try and elevate the material. It's a shame there wasn't much to elevate.

Hopefully the cast and crew move on to bigger and better things. And hopefully E.L. James fans suddenly wake up and say, "Wow, this woman is a total hack!"
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11:02PM on 02/12/2015

Well.....

It's a 5, which is about 4 higher than most of us thought it would be......
It's a 5, which is about 4 higher than most of us thought it would be......
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10:57PM on 02/12/2015

Soloist

is this an underrated gem too?
is this an underrated gem too?
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11:01PM on 02/12/2015
So you just purposely clinked on this page to write that wonderful little sentence? How mature of you.
So you just purposely clinked on this page to write that wonderful little sentence? How mature of you.
11:02PM on 02/12/2015
Lmao!!
Lmao!!
11:06PM on 02/12/2015
It was funny.
It was funny.
11:20PM on 02/12/2015
no, just clicked the article to read it. then I lovingly thought of you :) why so serious?
no, just clicked the article to read it. then I lovingly thought of you :) why so serious?
11:25PM on 02/12/2015
Whatever. No hard feelings.
Whatever. No hard feelings.
11:44PM on 02/12/2015
The_ConMan, Seriously, what is wrong with you? Lay off the guy already and stop being such a jackass.
The_ConMan, Seriously, what is wrong with you? Lay off the guy already and stop being such a jackass.
11:47PM on 02/12/2015
hey Sauron, go find your ring and calm your tits. I was just chirping him. I've more or less stopped being a jackass. and I agree with him when I do and more or less lay off. so once again calm your tits. Stop trying to be the hero
hey Sauron, go find your ring and calm your tits. I was just chirping him. I've more or less stopped being a jackass. and I agree with him when I do and more or less lay off. so once again calm your tits. Stop trying to be the hero
11:52PM on 02/12/2015
Wow, world-class comebacks right there. Believe it or not, directly calling out another user on a thread where HE HASN'T EVEN SAID ANYTHING just might be the definition of being a jackass. You've been doing this for months, and it's grade-school behavior. Get over your petty little grudge against him, and get on with your life. I can't imagine how pathetic you must be to have to keep bullying other strangers on the internet in order to feel better about yourself. Piss off, jackass.
Wow, world-class comebacks right there. Believe it or not, directly calling out another user on a thread where HE HASN'T EVEN SAID ANYTHING just might be the definition of being a jackass. You've been doing this for months, and it's grade-school behavior. Get over your petty little grudge against him, and get on with your life. I can't imagine how pathetic you must be to have to keep bullying other strangers on the internet in order to feel better about yourself. Piss off, jackass.
12:09AM on 02/13/2015
congrats on your Ph.D on Beginners Guide to Psychology 101 for dummies. Pack your bags and go pick up some cheese for your whine.
congrats on your Ph.D on Beginners Guide to Psychology 101 for dummies. Pack your bags and go pick up some cheese for your whine.
6:05AM on 02/13/2015
Lol.
Lol.
10:01AM on 02/13/2015
STOP IT! STOP IT! I can't stand when Mommy and Mommy fight in the comeback section. Can't we all just get along.
STOP IT! STOP IT! I can't stand when Mommy and Mommy fight in the comeback section. Can't we all just get along.
10:49PM on 02/12/2015

Not surprising at all...

...considering the book was spawned from Twilight fan-fiction. Literally. When the source material is so awful, of course the movie will be too. I've heard the universal high praise for Johnson though, so hopefully her performance here leads to greater things for her in the future. But man, it's disappointing that trash like this will most likely rake in the cash at the box office, leading to trilogies and spin-offs and God knows what. I fully intend to spend my money this weekend on movies
...considering the book was spawned from Twilight fan-fiction. Literally. When the source material is so awful, of course the movie will be too. I've heard the universal high praise for Johnson though, so hopefully her performance here leads to greater things for her in the future. But man, it's disappointing that trash like this will most likely rake in the cash at the box office, leading to trilogies and spin-offs and God knows what. I fully intend to spend my money this weekend on movies that actually deserve it...like Kingsmen: Secret Service. Can't wait to see that.
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11:45PM on 02/12/2015
.
.
1:06AM on 02/13/2015
The thing is, if it has it's fans it has its fans. Just because we aren't interested doesn't mean our opinions are more valuable than theirs are. I'll never see it but it doesn't bother me if it makes people happy, then I'm all for it. Why would it doing well and spawning sequels hurt us? Give Hollywood the idea that trash sells? Trash has always sold. Higher quality movies are still going to be made.

Far as Kingsman: The Secret Service? Tomorrow afternoon for me!
The thing is, if it has it's fans it has its fans. Just because we aren't interested doesn't mean our opinions are more valuable than theirs are. I'll never see it but it doesn't bother me if it makes people happy, then I'm all for it. Why would it doing well and spawning sequels hurt us? Give Hollywood the idea that trash sells? Trash has always sold. Higher quality movies are still going to be made.

Far as Kingsman: The Secret Service? Tomorrow afternoon for me!
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