|FILM| Fifty Shades of Grey
dir. Sam Taylor-Johnson
Screenplay: Kelly Marcel
Released: 13th February 2015
Distributed: Universal Pictures
I have read the trilogy written by E. L. James, and I reviewed them a couple of months ago, which you can find here. In that review I mentioned that I enjoyed them, but not in the conventional sense. I buddied up with my lovely friend, Laura, and read them whilst we were on holiday in Portugal. I think because we read them together, and were able to laugh at them (“oh for god sake, put her down” and “get a grip woman” were frequent exclamations) we had an enjoyable experience reading them.
We decided back when we heard it was being produced that we’d like to go to watch it together. We recently went to the cinema along with Abbey, and sat down to watch the film.
My immediate thought was that it’s very quickly paced. I felt like a huge chunk of the book was covered in what felt like 10 minutes, and it continued on in that manner. I’m fully aware that a film can never match a book in detail and pace but yikes, it whipped through what I considered my favourite moments in the book and lingered on the intimate scenes.
With that being said, I felt the intimate scenes were of a length that didn’t make me feel too uncomfortable, unlike the book, which in the end became repetitive and boring. I felt that the scenes in this film cut away at the right times for me. I had wished they’d focused more on the relationship between the characters, such as Kate and José. For example, I loved that Kate has reservations about Christian, but that wasn’t really touched on in the film.
In terms of the actors, I thought they did a decent enough job considering the source material. I think it would have been difficult to play Christian in the film, as he’s essentially just a cool stare and a hot body. When I heard they were producing this film, in terms of physical appearance, I would have casted Ian Somerholder to play Christian Grey, but I think James Dornan does a good enough job. The character hasn’t got anywhere near as much depth in the film, which is a shame, because I liked his complex character in the book.
Dakota Johnson bugged me a little, granted she was playing a character that drove me insane, so perhaps I can’t be too hard on her. She was a bit over the top in some scenes, particularly the love scenes, but then again so was Ana in the books. Unfortunately, I don’t think Johnson and Dornan had great chemistry together, which was vital for this film.
I did think this film was really funny at times and thankfully it’s intentionally funny too. The cinema was laughing out loud, particularly in the meeting scene – which incidentally was one of my favourite scenes. The director managed to bring a light humour to the film, which I think would have come across as one big awkward mess otherwise.
I thought the film was aesthetically pleasing, with the huge budget behind it I’d expect that. I thought the sets and locations lived up to what I imagined them to be and the helicopter scene really was a standout for me. I loved seeing Seattle in that way. The soundtrack was also a massive plus for me, as it includes Beyoncé’s epic remix of Crazy In Love and Ellie Goulding’s Love Me Like You Do – both fantastic.
Overall, I thought it was an entertaining film – I’m not sure if that’s because I went to watch it with my friends, and had a good time. If I’d have watched it on my own, sat on the couch, then I probably won’t have liked it as much. Since the film has been released, it has been reported that both the director and James Dornan have quit the franchise. I’m not sure where they’re going to go from there to be honest.
Entertaining enough, but not amazing. Worth a watch if you enjoyed the books, but I wouldn’t rush out to watch it.