Everyone’s favourite saucy Twilight fan-fic has finally hit the big screen and boy is it… something. It is a thing. To its credit, Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele is fifty billion shades of more likeable than her limp book counterpart – the perfect balance of cool chick, demure ingénue and sultry siren – and thankfully we’re no longer privy to the clunky metaphors that occupy ‘book’ Ana’s every waking moment (“I feel the colour in my cheeks rising again. I must be the colour of The Communist Manifesto.” Yeesh.). I offer director Sam Taylor-Johnson a series of high fives because the words “inner goddess” and “medulla oblongata” are not uttered once (seriously you guys, this book is so bad).
We’re lead to believe early on that the film may even have a sense of humour about itself when Ana drunkenly mocks Christian Grey’s (Jamie Dornan) need for control and then in a scene where the two negotiate the terms of her “contract”, but the smiles are soon replaced by long smoldering looks and demented amounts of lip-biting. Unfortunately most of Jamie Dornan’s ‘smoldering looks’ look like cluster headaches. Dornan is a very attractive human male, arguably the only prerequisite for the role, but he’s so flaccid in comparison to the dynamic Johnson it’s a bit like watching her take care of herself for two hours, if you get my drift.
Like the book, no one has come for the story. And like the book, the sex scenes are the best bit because the story is so abjectly terrible. Taylor-Johnson has masterfully captured the BDSM-lite eroticism with enough tantalising glimpses of bits you don’t usually see on the big screen to make you stifle a nervous giggle, but not enough to get the censors’ undies in a bunch. Not only that, she has achieved the rare feat of making a film that is better than its source material. Now if we all just ignore how embarrassingly easy that would be…
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Movie Times