I will preface this with a couple things. I wrote this little ramble/review/story time session in 2017 when I originally watched Fifty Shades Of Grey. I know many people who haven’t seen it are already rolling their eyes at this and I mean you’re kind of in the right to do so. I had a lot to say and not this site to share it on at the time. Below you will find reasons to and not to watch these movies. Main reason but not only reason but a very very big reason is Dakota Johnson. Now I haven’t seen the last movie yet but with the same writer and director of the sequel…I’ll just let you read what I wrote at this point…
Originally written on May 29th 2017 (Edits may be included for additional thoughts):
I have had quite the history with Fifty Shades Of Grey.
Hearing about these erotic novels that had become a worldwide phenomenon, I was in no way interested in reading them. Especially because my mom was into them and had forewarned me that they were dirty and not something I should be reading. That almost made me want to be like “Fuck you, Mom. I do what I want.” I never did end up reading the novels but I did research them out of curiosity. (Edit: This is an issue that I have that I have no interest in reading/watching something but will spend much longer researching the thing then it would have been to actually do the thing itself. It makes no sense. It’s stupid. It is me. Anyway…)
Finding passages online, something struck me as odd about them. Small things and the constant reference to Anastasia’s inner goddess seemed familiar. It wasn’t until seeing the words ‘fanfiction’ and ‘Twilight’ that it all became clear.
This was Master Of The Universe and I definitely read it in the prime Twilight obsession times. That was a dark time for me and a lot of other teen girls. That’s a whole different topic. (Edit: Somehow I met my very best friend during this time. I still don’t get how that worked out. I look back and that was the worst version of myself. Shout out to Sam. She’s a real one.)
Fifty Shades Of Grey became a joke in the literary world and soon to be film world short after. Again, no interest in watching the film. I almost did because my beloved Graham from Once Upon A Time was cast as Christian. (RIP Graham.) Also this girl from a sitcom I loved and I still feel like it was cancelled when it shouldn’t have been was cast as Anastasia but still nope. My mom saw it opening week and her biggest comment on the film was that there wasn’t enough sex. That was who this was intended for and I was so so so not wanting to even be associated with that crowd.
It’s now been two years since Fifty Shades Of Grey has been released. There are so many other films I could have chosen to watch. However I figured it was time to get this out of the way. It couldn’t be that bad…
The dialogue is laughable and also made me cringe. The strong parallels to Twilight are so evident if you’re aware of them. The sad sack montage at the end was silly and had the ending feeling very abrupt. The movie ran too long. When I saw it was two hours, I almost didn’t watch it. But here I am, writing a review for it.
My mom’s main complaint was something I liked about the film. I’m not a prude but each sex scene drove the plot forward. I suppose I see the disappointment of the mass of horny women who went to see the film wanting some majorly titillating fodder for the next moment they were alone. There was actually a plot and it was a very coherent one at that. Jamie Dornan is still hot and doesn’t have much to work with besides the direction to be mysterious and withdrawn which he perfects. He’s still way more attractive as Graham though. (Edit: This is fixed in the sequel. That will come up later.) The girl from the cancelled sitcom (It was Ben and Kate btw. It only lasted a season. It was super cute and charming. I’m still bitter it was cancelled compared to other shows that in my opinion were shit. I’m going off topic…anywho…) Dakota Johnson is an engaging, charming and downright joy to watch on screen. (Edit: She has only since blown up more and I am so so happy over how much love she gets. Get it, Dakota!) What I enjoyed most about this panned film that had far too many preconceived notions set upon it was the agency Anastasia has in the entire film. Her growth and journey are the main reason to watch Fifty Shades Of Grey.
I would argue that Fifty Shades Of Grey isn’t a mindless erotic film but a coming of age film about a young women finding herself through sex and this bizarre relationship with Christian Grey.
I’m kind of excited to watch Fifty Shades Darker now and that still upsets me a bit. I’m all in for Dakota Johnson and her representation of Anastasia.
And there you have it. My longest review on Letterboxd is over a mediocre teen vampire series turned to successful yet meh film series turned an okay fanfiction turned crazily popular novel turned surprisingly good movie.
Originally written on May 29th 2017:
While some dialogue was silly and questionable in the first movie, Fifty Shades Of Grey was fundamentally a good movie. There was a cohesive plot, the sex scenes weren’t just for the thrill of it and Anastasia was elevated to being a character that you actually cared for and wanted to watch.
Now to Fifty Shades Darker… everything bad about the first was illuminated and done even worse. The new director and screenwriter make the film what people expect it to be. A soap opera esque pointless sex romp with hardly no substance. (Edit: Anything to do with that fucking helicopter. Just stop it please! It was awful.)
While the first film made me almost regret being so judgemental over this series, this one just reaffirmed my original thoughts.
But Dakota Johnson is still lovely and charming. And Jamie Dornan had scruff in this one. That was a plus.
I will watch the third one probably in the midst of all COVID-19 mayhem. I’ll update you on that but from the sequel, I can’t see how it’s going to be any better. I’m going to hate most of it and I’m doing it for journalist integrity. I’M DOING IT FOR THE ART OR LACK THERE OF ART OF IT ALL!