Every day people go to the theater hoping to see the film of our generation, the movie everybody will remember. “Titanic,” “Forrest Gump,” “Pulp Fiction.” Every year has that one film that stands above the rest, forever embedding itself within popular American iconography. Movies that have passion, whose characters echo the very same fear and love we find within ourselves. “Fifty Shades of Grey” was truly an unforgettable movie in the sense that never before have I left a theater more disappointed.
I didn’t necessarily go into the theater with high expectations. I had not read the books and heard both they and the movie were “meh.” Like a gold digger on a first date, I loaded up on booze, needing to take the edge off what I knew was to come. I watched the film. I watched the whole damn thing. Just to write this review! And it was so bad in nearly every facet of its creative development, I put off writing this article — I just didn’t know where to start. So I decided I’d just dive right in. This review DOES contain some spoilers, but fortunately you can’t spoil what’s already rotten.
Character development — there is none. At the film’s start each character, when introduced, literally just says in a sentence or two who they are and what cliché archetype they were molded from. “I have a GPS and a 4.0 GPA” is one of the first lines spoken by the female protagonist, “Anastasia Steele” (who has quite possibly the porniest name I’ve ever heard). Within the film’s first 15 minutes she practically lists her generic character traits off for the audience. Meanwhile, the male lead, Christian Grey, is nothing but a boring and more predictable version of Leonardo Dicaprio’s character in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I’ve seen better character development on Pornhub.
The movie was a little over two hours long, but honestly it should have been cut down to 45 and premiered on Lifetime. The movie’s “plot” was really just two scenes playing out over and over again, with boring non-sequiturs occurring on the side. First they argue, then they have sex. The arguments always go as follows:
Anastasia: Why can’t we have a normal relationship, with love and romance?
Christian: Because I’m weird and mysterious.
*Anastasia bites her lip.
Christian: Let’s go to my playroom.
Then they have sex. Usually it involves a lot of gasping and pubic hair. The movie is very stylized visually and the actors look good naked, but after watching 10-minute-long sex scenes every 10 minutes I found myself completely bored of it all. *She moans, she shudders, she bites her lip, “You bit your lip, you know what that does to me”, she gasps, pube shot, she bites her lip.
The sex never really even got that exotic. At one point Anastasia and Christian sit down and go over a contract detailing what he “might” do to her. They describe dildos, fisting, butt-plugs — all sorts of kinky shit. But they do hardly any of it. He gives her a few limp-wristed swats with a riding crop, he ties her up once or twice, they do “doggy style” — Ooooh how racy (I say sarcastically). Christian punishes the audience with his acting more than he does her with anything else. The most sadistic scene of the film is Christian whipping Anastasia. But even then, after only a few smacks she gets up crying, asking him “Is this all you want from me?” And it’s like yes, bitch, he said that like 40 times. What did you expect?
For me, the most pleasurable moment during the movies two-plus-hour runtime was the sweet release of pressure I felt, urinating during a bathroom break. The movie did however, have one not-quite-saving-grave: The movie’s “look” is very stylized and the shots are visually striking. But I would argue that the cinematography, in this case, is just being tawdrily draped over an otherwise formulaic plot stuffed with shoddily crafted stereotypes and characters so void of substance, any one of them could have slowly died of cancer and I wouldn’t have batted an eye. I felt nothing for them.
I understand that this is just my opinion here but I know I wasn’t the only one in the theater bored catatonic by the film. After the first hour, I could hear people shifting in their seats, fucking with their phones, waiting and wondering when this boring movie will end. The second the credits rolled, an audible sigh of relief rolled through the theater. The best part of the movie was the end … when it ended.
If you truly want to see a good movie full of controversial sex, check out my article “Top 5 Movies on Netflix with Penetration.”. My recommendation for BDSM is “Nymphomaniac Part I” and “Part II.” That movie makes “50 Shades” look like “Sesame Street.”