Finally it is here, after months of anticipation Fifty Shades has been transported to our screens from the steamy pages of the best selling novel by E.L James. I have to admit at the outset, that I have not read the book myself. But that didn’t stop my curiosity to discover what all the fuss was about and 2 hours at the cinema was time better spent than trawling through a book, which was, for all intents and purposes, badly written (apparently.)
So what it is about this story that make women (and a few men) rush out to buy the book in its millions? The hype around the subject matter soon became apparent and I suspect the fact that S&M (Sadomasochism, incase you are unenlightened ) being at the core of the plot, had aroused readers curiosity. I am told the sex in the book is more explicit than in the film but apart from that, the plot stays the same.
It is, essentially a love story where innocent girl meets damaged, controlling boy and they both set out to change one another and there the conflict lies. Which is a basic recipe for most stories but of course, there are lots of twists and turns on the way, as they take us on their journey.
The morning I was set to see the film, I was watching breakfast TV and they were interviewing Christian Greys actor, who turned out to be Jamie Dornan. I was stunned because I was expecting a young, American actor and I knew this man to be from Northern Ireland and not only that; I had been avidly watching his character in The Fall as a psycho serial killer set in Belfast! I have to say, he was brilliant in that role, as was Gillian Anderson and I could see comparisons between the characters he played. Both were controlling but enigmatic at the same time. So when I started watching the film, it took a while to get his other character out of my mind.
Fair play to the man, he fit the bill of Christian Grey perfectly, even without reading the book, and Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) played her role perfectly too.
There has been a lot of coverage in the media about this film “glorifying” domestic abuse. In my humble opinion, I don’t think it does. The female character in the role, Ana, although she plays the submissive role, she gives her consent. The dominant character, Grey, although sometimes controlling, doesn’t do anything to her that she does not consent to. There is even a contract, which Ana doesn’t actually sign, but she still let’s Christian take her into his “playroom” because she trusts him. Domestic abuse, to my understanding, doesn’t involve consent or trust from the submissive partner. The only grey area (excuse the pun!) is the question of control because it could be construed as mental abuse.
A friend made a good point yesterday when she said that the film could be “promoting” S&M. I think she has a point; we haven’t seen too many films like this lately. In the seventies it was quite common to see soft porn films, remember Emmanuelle? So maybe our screens have been devoid of titillating sex of late and we are hungry for it again? There certainly was a lot of tittering behind us in the cinema, and gasps in the more steamy scenes!
So to sum up, it is a good chickflik with soft porn and romantic scenes set to great music and it is nothing, if not thought provoking. My only quibble is that it ended too abruptly, but that is because it was left open for the story to continue, so watch out for the next two instalments!