50 Shades Of Gray – Released 2015

It’s hard to believe three years have gone by since the book was released. I remember the buzz around this piece of work, OMG! My female friends either raved about what a good read it is or shrugged shoulders in utter disappointment at the end. Even I could hold my own in related conversations just from hearing so much about it. I knew the names of the main characters, a bit of the plot and that the story is spread over about 3 books.

The author, E.L. James must be set for life from the sales. A movie was probably the natural next thing to do. I went into this film with mixed expectations. I was eager to see if all the media attention the book received is well deserved. Unfair? Yes, I know, considering it’s possible the motion picture could be a poor adaption of the book.

I started paying attention to Jamie Dornan (playing Christian Grey) from the TV Series – The Fall, which I truly enjoyed. There’s a lot of criticism about casting him as Christian, but is it just me or can you also see the correlation with his character from The Fall? He’s that normal guy in the open, but underneath, he’s a complex dude with dark and eccentric desires. Dakota Johnson (playing Anastasia Steele) before now was just another face on TV to me. The remaining cast doesn’t stand out to me as well and sometimes I like that. It helps me focus on the story being told more than the people telling it.

Categorized as a romantic drama, the movie is about a sexually inexperienced “girl next door” type who finds a connection with a guy on the opposite end of the spectrum. He’s young, rich, attractive, confident, articulate, in control, and of course, mysterious. Think of the Dracula movies where he can sense a woman with “virgin” blood and wants her? She on the other hand can sense mystery and danger yet finds him irresistible. Their attraction is something of the sort. Anastasia wants to fall in love with the knight in sharp tailored suits and live happily ever after. But he’s not interested in love and doesn’t lie about it. He’s satisfied with owning her body and mind, in his own way, by his own rules.

He begins to strip away her innocence, bit by bit, pulling her into a world of submissive sex. She’s intrigued by how receptive her body is to this new experience, she continues to allow him to dominate her, teach her, punish her. All the while hoping to discover why he does what he does, why he is who he is.

Sidenote: When it comes to men, ever wonder why women like puzzles? Something to work out, understand and fix? Don’t ask me why, its weird but its true.

Anastasia battles to take down his walls of defense. Christian struggles to remain steadfast to his rules and not give into any emotions towards her. Their sexual exploits intensify and eventually, she gets a rude awakening. With their relationship now at the Rubicon, a choice must be made. Will she stick around? Or has she had enough? And that my friends, we’ll have to wait on the sequel to find out.

Although the writing in this movie is simple and almost predictable, I wasn’t bored at any point. In between the sex and rich-boy-playing-with-expensive-toys script, I was well entertained. I’m usually kissing my teeth at something cheesy or poorly delivered in most romantic films, but not here at all. I think the characters were convincing enough to keep me in it. There was a moment I caught myself leaning in towards the TV and suddenly straightened my sitting posture. As if someone said to me….hey men, that’s supposed to be a chick flick, don’t be so into it!

I think dudes will enjoy this movie just as much as their ladies. Just try not to pay attention to the voice in your head asking Uhmmmmm….will she think our sex is boring after this?

One of my favorite scenes is where they sit in the boardroom, on opposite ends of the table, negotiating the ‘submission’ contract. Interesting choice of lighting here. Our subjects are mostly backlit, there’s just enough spill to illuminate them. There’s a gradation in the light from top to bottom, creating a mood that pulls me in and gives Anastasia a sultry look I enjoy.

Some parts in the movie take me back to the 1968 Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Fay Dunaway. Fast forward to the scene where they play chess. IMHO, they transmit as much arousal with their clothes on, as Christian and Anastasia did with their clothes off. Think about that for a minute. That’s how masterful they were. I absolutely love that movie and can’t get enough of it.

The sex scenes in Fifty Shades Of Grey are well done. They are hot, classy, and engaging. I played the movie for a second time with the TV off, listening to the audio. Without any picture, I was still entertained. The sounds take you through the film allowing your mind to recreate the images. I appreciate any movie that lets me do this. I think the chemistry between the leads also work very well. The entire cast delivers a solid performance; and I wont mind seeing them go at it again. Also glad they stayed away from a typical Hollywood ending because that would have ruined it for me.

Is this 125mins of my life I wish I could take back? No.
Will I see it again? Yes, several times and still be entertained.
Is it worth owning? Yes. Already added it to my Blu-Ray wish list.
What about the soundtrack? Awesome, love it.
Should there be sequel? Absolutely. I’m waiting for it.
Who will like this movie? Anyone who likes adventurous sex and daydreams of it.
Is it a Classic? No. It won’t win any awards for mind-blowing cinematography, scenery or screenplay. However, it’s very well made and enjoyable.