“Fifty Shades of F***ed up”; A Review of E.L. James’ Cinematic Reincarnation

Well Ladies and Gents, it's finally here. The Twilight spin-off that promised to bind us to the screen with… well, let's face it, it’s hardly the witty dialogue and thrilling plot line that's drawing us to the nearest cinema. Yes, we finally have the bare-all view of Fifty Shades. But much like waking up the morning after Crisis to someone you saw through beer goggles last night, we have been left with more of an empty disappointment than a hungry-for-more attitude.

The film follows the angsty virginal Anastasia Steele, a recent graduate who becomes swept up in the sadomasochistic world of billionaire bachelor Christian Grey. Having forced myself through all three novels, I found it hugely difficult to review the film as a creative art-form in its own right. E.L. James mimics Christian Grey’s desire ‘to exercise control in all things’, the most convincing shackling being that which goes on between author and film - so much so that Sam Taylor-Johnson is refusing to direct the sequels. James ensured that she retained control over every stage of production, though it was perhaps most obvious in the clumsy dialogue between the two protagonists. The direct quotations from the original fanfic spread awkward giggles through the audience; the simple truth of the matter was that we were embarrassed for the actors. Having to read out such drab and cheesy lines must have been extremely discomforting with several cameras on you. I mean there were some real shockers, ‘I don’t make love. I f***. Hard’ being one of the most special.


Author E.L. James, pictured above, has certainly left her mark on the film.


Unfortunately the influence from the books didn’t end here. Not only were the lines directly quoted from the text, but they were kept in an almost perfect chronological order. This meant that often huge leaps were taken from seemingly ordinary moments to rough sex. The moment that seemed to cause most squeals of delight from the clearly underaged girls at the back was when Christian Grey went from “You should eat”, to prowling across the bed on all fours like a predator, growling “If you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week” without so much as a blink of the eye. It is possibly occasions like this which have led critics to describe the film as ‘making a bad fist of it’.

But let’s not beat about the bush any longer and get down to the bit you all want to know about. The sex. It goes without saying, there’s a lot of it. Around 20 minutes, to be precise. It is safely about as close to porn as you will get in mainstream cinema.

Admittedly you do have to wait a while before the sex begins, but once it starts it doesn’t stop. This is another of many flaws in E.L. James’ novel which has been forcibly translated across to the screen. The sex scenes become too frequent, to the point that the plot is nearly brought to a standstill to make room for scenes which are thrown in, it seems, just for the hell of it. The film ends abruptly after its most violent ‘sex scene’, supposedly setting you up for a dramatic sequel. However it only leaves you wondering whether Fifty Shades of Grey might have been better left as just a piece of online fanfic.

And while Dakota Johnson has huge chunks of screen-time dedicated to panning her naked figure, Jamie Dornan is afforded the odd topless moment. Now don’t get me wrong, Dornan was far from a disappointment in his physique, but with tits flying all over the place we couldn’t help but feel ever so slightly deprived. As we walked out of the cinema I overheard one girl yawp “Where was the cock shot?”; slightly pervy it may be, but then, the film’s tagline is ‘Are you curious?’.

The current rating for the film on IMDb is 4/10 from over 60,000 viewers, and I have to agree with this below-par standing. For all the hype, the film is perhaps best described as a less fantastical Twilight, but with moderately better acting and more attractive leads. Admittedly, most of us just want to say we’ve seen it, and satisfy that inevitable sense of curiosity. But I wouldn’t advise paying to see it in the cinemas - a bottle of wine would bring you more joy.









Edited by Sam Carey