Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Review by Cara Sutra

Fifty Shades of Grey Movie Review

by Cara Sutra

I don’t care what you think about Fifty Shades of Grey. By the time the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie was released in UK cinemas I was bouncing with excitement about going to see it. Not because I’m the world’s biggest 50 Shades fan. Not because I find Christian Grey knicker-gushingly hot. Because I wanted to be able to make up my own damn mind without being torn one way or the other by other people’s opinions.

Now, I have watched the Fifty Shades of Grey film from start to finish. Now, I can give you my opinions about it, just as I did after I read all three books.

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Summary: Beauty and the Beast without the Stockholm syndrome.

So what are my thoughts? The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie is a grand, sweeping and lavish affair from start to finish. Hollywood has blessed EL James and her legions of fans with a beautiful cast, spacious location shoots and spectacular building sets. We cut directly to the chase and it’s not long before Ana is doing her trademark tumble into Christian Grey’s office. It is quite evidently love at first sight for her, as it becomes clear throughout the course of the film that she is a woman who is drawn to things which intimidate and frighten her.

At the start of the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie I was worried that Ana would be the very weakest and most feeble portrayal of the role, but after about half an hour I was reassured that the character had some depth. Dakota Johnson plays her part beautifully with her rabbit in the headlights panic face, nubile teasing beauty look and the incessant lip biting. I did find myself laughing every time she did it. It reminded me just how often she bit her lip in the book. I was hoping that they’d misinterpret the mannerism and have her gurning an under bite in every other scene but sadly it was not to be. I had to quell my desire to reach into the screen and slip her some lip balm; how her lips aren’t chapped and bitten to hell I really don’t know.

The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie follows the same formula as sex. The meeting of two people who have a mutual attraction. Plenty of oral foreplay, with Christian Grey’s impressively large building inspiring Ana to lick her lips, bite her lip and eventually use the pencil he gives her to practice her teasy-chewy-licky techniques. She’s a beginner. We will forgive her. After the phallic-mouth focus, the film shifts to the sexual tension between the two. Or rather, tension from her, frustration from him. There’s no doubt that he pursues her. It is clear that she wants to be pursued. All sounding pretty normal so far? Well it is, really. I found the toying, teasing chase to be quite endearing and affectionate.

Christian Grey (played by the dashing Jamie Dornan) is a man who knows what he wants and is used to getting it. He is also used to being contacted by or involved with women who like that sort of thing. This is shown by the fact that he has ‘done this all before’- with several women. (He’s really quite likable despite all this, honest.) Ana is different. We see the first tendrils of a deeper emotional involvement than Christian is used to in such actions as him rescuing her in an intoxicated state, not taking advantage of her (unlike his brother, by stark contrast to a vanilla world where one night stands are not only acceptable but often welcomed). Christian ensures at all times that Ana has clean clothes, has enough rest and sleep, and has an option to stop his pursuit or to leave his presence, whichever is appropriate for the scene.  He is cut to the quick by a confession from Ana about her sexual history, and takes consensual steps to put that ‘right’. And oh my god is it consensual. In most of the early to mid-film scenes she looks like she literally wants to eat him and spend a week purring afterwards.

These are not actions that Christian Grey admits to doing with women before Ana, from which we can deduce that he has a stronger emotional connection with her than merely female submissives that he has owned or played with in the past.

After much consideration, I have decided that your opinion of Ana’s situation in the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie will come down to whether you see her as the ‘typical’ woman on the street (I don’t like to say the word ‘normal’ as it implies D/s persons are not; vanilla could also be deemed as negative) or whether you recognise from the very start that she is a submissive woman. Albeit a submissive woman who doesn’t recognise her own orientation yet, why she responds in a positive way to Grey’s control and even to his physical punishments.

At no point in the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie are Christian Grey’s actions towards Ana violent or uncontrolled. His actions in a sexual or BDSM manner are always asked for and understood. There is a scene where Ana actually finds her inner… no, not goddess. Her inner cock tease. She teases Christian quite blatantly about what he wants to do to her in a sexual way, then she ups and leaves. He meekly asks her whether she’d reconsider and she smirks and gets in the car and drives off. Most definitely not a woman who is being taken advantage of. She knows his desire for her, she understands sexual desire from men. What she doesn’t yet understand is how corporal punishment and the strict rules of a Dominant can form part of an affectionate and close relationship.

Ana’s submissive streak, yet unknown to her, is clear to a man of Christian Grey’s experience. You might say that he ‘preys’ upon that, but to be honest I didn’t feel that Ana was at any time vulnerable or taken advantage of by him. He has ample opportunity to take advantage of her, for example when she is in a drunken state, but instead he merely cares for her human needs (clean clothes, sleep, hydration and vitamins) and does not touch her in a sexual or D/s manner. Because she cannot consent in that situation.

This submissive streak in Anastasia Steele responds more and more to Christian Grey’s dominance to the point where she engineers a situation in order to get a spanking. The spanking ends after only a few over his knee, a fact which she is obviously disappointed about. Christian has to leave to attend to other duties (work, no doubt) and I almost expected Ana to fall to her knees at that point and beg him for a few more hand spankings on her arse. Perhaps she would have done if she understood more about the D/s dynamic, what turns a Dom on and why.

Christian Grey makes mistakes in his blossoming relationship with Ana, no doubt about it. He’s human. His mistakes stem from his desire for Ana and his belief that she has that submissive streak which, when cultivated and trained, will see her being truly fulfilled in life. I’ve made mistakes with submissives. Usually it comes down to miscommunication or simply not being told certain facts. I believe that a successful D/s relationship needs open, honest and clear communication from all parties in order to work and avoid mistakes as much as possible.

The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie ends after the most intense BDSM scene between the pair, although it is short by comparison to other scenes in the film. Both parties make a mistake in that last scene, and I feel equally sorry for both of them. Christian does as he is asked – or even begged –for, and Ana didn’t know what she was asking for. The upset atmosphere between the two is tangible and the audience is left wondering whether the situation can ever be resolved. This is definitely a genius move on behalf of both EL James and the film director, who secures not only the movie goers money for the first film but also ticket prices for at least the second. We left the cinema being teased and denied, that itch to see the next film and the resolution of the situation unsated until its release.

There will be those who love the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie and those who hate it. It will be deemed ‘too tame’ for hardcore BDSM fans and ‘violent’ for those who don’t understand or know about BDSM dynamics and relationships. I see it for what it is, a glamorous Hollywood adaptation of an incredibly popular novel. I cried when I saw Grey’s famous red room of pain on screen; not because it was lavish and spectacular (although it is), but because it was the first time I’d been in the company of so many ‘vanilla’ people presented with the BDSM world and there was an acceptance. There was no collective gasp of shock, no outraged patrons walking out in disgust. They knew it was going to happen and it was beautiful to see and be in the presence of two parts of the world coming together.

If you go to see the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie expecting violent rape scenes and domestic abuse you will be disappointed. Or hopefully, pleased that there simply aren’t any. If you avoid watching the movie because you’ve been told it’s a glamorisation of rape and abuse, you’ll be missing out on a visual and emotional spectacle. Do yourself a favour and see it for yourself. It’s an incredibly watchable film and keeps you gripped all the way through.*

 

*Unless you use your safeword


Related:

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James Book Review

The Fifty Shades of Grey Movie (Guest Review)

Fifty Shades of Grey Bridges the Gap Between Vanilla & Kink

Why you need to ditch the ‘I hate 50 Shades of Grey’ bandwagon

Fifty Shades of Grey: Not As Badly Written As You Think

Cara Sutra’s 50 Shades of Grey Sex Toys Reviews

fifty shades of grey movie review


Post Script

Although we’d booked our Fifty Shades of Grey Movie tickets in advance and collected them without any issue from the cinema desk, there were still queues to enter the screens to watch the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie. It was being shown on 7 of the 9 screens at our local Odeon, with a showing beginning every 15-30 minutes.

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I have never seen anything like it in any cinema, for any film. The queues to enter the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie screens were over 100 metres from outside the actual cinema right up to the ticket checking person, then once we were upstairs outside our screen there was another queue of hundreds of people waiting for the cleaners to finish after the previous screening.

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How many people were seeing the Fifty Shades of Grey Movie as fans of the books, how many were simply curious and how many just didn’t fancy watching the other options of an opera or Kingsman I’m not too sure. What seems certain is that Fifty Shades of Grey has made an absolute killing at the box office – entirely consensually, of course.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. What a great review! Most critics have given this film a bad review and many in the public eye are stating that it is domestic abuse. I think it is a gateway for couples to explore other aspects of sexuality together. The way that the whole adult toy industry had marketed and gotten behind this mainstream film opening is going to be the subject of business case studies on how to get marketing right.

  2. I was put off reading the books by the many negative reviews that I read, however, I have now recently read all three books (I don’t like to watch a film until I have read the book) and have been pleasantly surprised by them. Ok not necessarily for the hardcore BDSMer’s out there but a great love story nonetheless!

    I will be very interested to see the film and am heartened by your review. It seems the film follows the book relatively well from what you say!

    Velvet x

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