I don’t know whether this following post qualifies as a rant or a review. But it could be either really. And also, before I START, a note: I didn’t read the book and only managed to sit through the film solely for the reason that a review of it would be fun to do. And I was right. This was the most fun I’ve ever had criticizing a movie.
Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, the world’s most clichéd, stereotyped and incredibly FLAT characters come together in an extremely obviously manufactured fizz and sparkle to create the most uninteresting piece of entertainment in the 21st century.
Anastasia is THE GIRL. Sweet, innocent, naïve, smart and to cap it all, A VIRGIN. She’s smart but doesn’t show it. She’s a hard worker but doesn’t show it. All she does is spend her days daydreaming about a certain Christian Grey. Her eyes are dreamy, her face is perfectly girly and her thoughts and actions are a call to all eligible rich bachelors out there to rescue her. Her actions are made so that young, rich bachelors with steely jaws and perfect hair will magically swoon in and catch her when she faints or when she vomits. Seriously, this delicate flower is so delicate that she got to her final year of college without having sex, or getting used to the occasional binge-drinking party. She takes one shot and she’s drunk, vomiting and fainting into the arms of the perfect guy.
She’s enamored by a guy so perfect and dreamy looking, she’s willing to overlook his mental apathy and character flaws that are full on sadistic. She’s not a masochist but she’s willing to become one so that she can A. Lose her virginity and B. Lose her virginity to a really rich, cool, distant, steely jawed, blue-eyed, blond haired cardboard cutout in a grey suit and tie.
Christian is THE GUY. Cool, aloof, haughty and positively divine looking. He’s got a personality the size of his nose-hair. And only because he couldn’t get at that teeny little fucker at the back of his nose today. He spends an eternity picking out shades of grey for his clothes, from jogging outfit, to business or make-the-girl-faint sweater that doubles as a really-cool-seduce move when he whips it off in the morning. One wonders how he got where he is at all with such a shallow, blank mind. Apparently he knows people and yet does not realize that he himself is in severe need of a psychiatrist. Or a better author really.
His steely exterior mirrors his insides. There’s nothing remotely interesting beneath that polished, buffed, manicured, pedicured, shampooed veneer of a body. He’s a black hole. He utters romantic sentiments with all the tact and seductiveness of a rampaging warthog. In a memorable instant, literally utters the sentence ‘I would like to Fuck You into the middle of next week’. Really, what kind of douche talks like that, even if he is a borderline psychopath?
YET another issue with the whole Thing is how incredibly medieval Anastasia Steele is. She is a dry-retch-inducing sad, wilting, delicate flower of a girl whose only redeemable qualities are her somewhat okay looks and incredible disregard for personal safety and self-esteem. Wait that’s not a redeemable quality, that’s a flaw. She’s so committed to ‘sleeping with her lover’ and going on ice skating dates with her beau, she’s willing to endure basically any and all humiliations and punishments he inflicts. Unquestioningly and unflinchingly, she submits.
This submission in the ‘playroom’ aside, Anastasia’s contribution to the entire story is paltry and quite frankly, immaterial. No one would care really, if it was some other flaky girl with a different name as the main character really. E.L James has dipped her arm into great big barrel of adjectives and backgrounds for the girl, picked out a few and clumped them all into a sad, insipid, dim girl with as much self-belief and self-esteem and basically any idea of self as a guinea pig. Outside the playroom, she storms off in a huff and is quickly won back with an airplane ride, storms off again and is won over by a quick, sensual intercourse session. Even the small moment she exercise some control and alters the CONTRACT and strikes out very severe ‘punishments’ she stops making demands as soon as our equally boring Mr. Grey suggests regular dates ONCE A WEEK. Forget the fact he’s playing hell with your career. Forget the fact you don’t know anything about him Anastasia. Forget the fact he won’t share a bed with you. He will take you out for ice cream once a week and also give you the fuck of your life the rest of the week while you cook for him, entertain him and basically be the mid-17th century housewife that all modern-day English Literature Graduates aspire to be.
This movie sets back the equal opportunity movements about a hundred years back. Featuring a girl with tastes and ideas that are force fed to her by her education, parents and her severely demented beau. “Are you a romantic?” asks the heavenly face of Mr. Blond and Brainless 2015 and his female counterpart, the delightfully empty-headed Ms. Steele answers, “I’m an English Major so I kinda have to be?”
This is a disappointing film really. The cinematography is sub-par, the acting is sub-sub-sub par, even by the skilled Dakota Johnson (especially by Jamie Dornan whose face is about as emotive as an elephant’s ass) but I can’t really find fault there because they have so little to work with. Stepping into the barely-there shoes of such manufactured and absolutely shallow and derivative characters is hard.
If there’s one good thing about this film, it’s the soundtrack. The tracks, by popular and very hip/happening artists are definitely something to pay close attention to.
As an erotic/ semi-pornographic film, this film is okay. As a genuine non-adult industry-oriented, psychological romance film This film is downright disgusting.
Want a movie that’s also about Sub-Dom relationships but with better story, acting and general overall production?
James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhall in Secretary, 2002. GO BE AMAZED.