WARNING....... This review will contain minor spoilers. If you have not read the books, you may want to avoid. If you have read the book(s) you already know what happens ;)
I am not a movie reviewer so this is more of a comparative review on book vs movie. Just bare with me while I ramble for a bit.
Let me start by saying a few words about the book/series. I read this book before it was picked up for publishing, before the hype, and before it was plastered all over every single media outlet known to man.
I was reluctant, at first, to read the series because of the fanfic aspect but I finally gave in and read. I was pleasantly surprised. I had and still have parts about the book(s) that rub me the wrong way. But as an overall story, I truly enjoyed it. I will be the first to admit that they weren't exceptionally well written. That it will never go down in history as a great work in literature. However, when you look past all of that, it has a beautiful story deep within the pages.
A man (Christian) who is deeply 'disturbed' on an emotional level. He was, clearly, sexually abused as a teenager and that is what pushed him into his choice of "lifestyle". This person, an authority figure who should have been a positive influence, used him for her own sadistic pleasure.
Now before people get in an uproar, I am not putting down or belittling the BDSM lifestyle in any way. I am a firm believer that what you do in the privacy of your home and/or bedroom is your own business.... as long as it is between two consenting adults.
Christian was a troubled child and he needed people in his life who were understanding of that. Not someone who took advantage of his innocence. She was nothing more than a pedophile. I will hold that opinion for eternity, the end.
Ana is a different thing all together. I had mixed feelings about her. She was weak, she was strong willed, she was naive she was not. She was desperate and panting but she also had balls at times. She above all was exactly what she needed to be for HIM. She loves him despite his obvious internal issues and becomes the only person he allows in enough to actually help him work through them.
I do not now, nor have I ever felt that Christian needed to be "cured" of anything. I do, however, feel like he needed to learn where the line between using BDSM as his way of coping with his issues and actually having that as a pleasure outlet in his life.
I wanna take a second to touch on the media hype. I, personally, rolled my eyes every time I heard the words 'book porn' or 'Mommy porn'.
- Book Porn...I have read some books that are LOADS more 'erotic' than this. So what...women read books with sex in them. BFD. Get over it already. How many years have men been reading the articles in Playboy?? Enough said
- Mommy Porn... Ok seriously people?? Mommy porn? Let me tell you what Mommy porn looks like. It looks like her husband doing the dishes for a change. Or even making dinner. Or.... good god someone grab me a cold shower.... laundry. Those things equate to Mommy porn.
And now... the movie.
I will not sing the praises of the actors or the script but I am going to say that I feel they played the parts the best they could be played under the circumstances. Part of me feels like this movie was doomed from the start. It has been talked about to the point of being annoying. People (namely ME) who were once excited at the prospect of this becoming a movie became disgusted with the media hype.
Dakota Johnson plays a pretty good Ana. Even though the breathless gaspy way she spoke throughout the movie was a little over done. Yes, it captured the book character, but it was also a bit much. However, I did like her a lot. She made me laugh several times and I think she portrayed a lot of the emotions to a T. And mad props to the girl... I mean she had to be naked thru a huge part of the movie. ^5 for having the guts to do it.
Jamie Dornan is not my vision of Christian Grey. I had to seriously give myself a pep talk before going in (Don't dislike him just on principle). Now that I have seen the movie I can give him a little credit. He did pretty good. Did he capture Christian? I don't know. I feel like maybe we all have our own version of him in our minds already so maybe he did for some, but for me he was lacking a little. He didn't suck. And I will give him this, the man was wearing the hell out of those low slung jeans. He played up the sex scenes fairly well. The fact that Christian hates to be touched was clearly portrayed. He was able to play the lighter side of CG way better than the hard side. But, again, he didn't suck.
****Side note -- When he says Laters Baby, it just sounds dumb. I am sorry, that is blunt but its my truth.
The story was the part(s) I had the most trouble with. I feel like the sexual aspect of the book was focused on more than the actual storyline. There were several things cut out of the "story" that could have been added and there were sex scenes that could have been left out. If you are planning to see it strictly for the sex scenes, you will not be disappointed. While they were very steamy as well as racy, they were also tastefully done.
I loved the fact that they played into Ana 'topping' him. While Christian is clearly the dominate, we book lovers know different. Ana is in control more often than not, and this did come across several times throughout the movie.
Overall, I will give this movie a 3 out of 5 Stars. I would watch it again once it releases on DVD and I will probably even buy it to have with my books.
Bottom line, I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it. So there it is. I even sorta feel like it may have been more successful as a cable series, maybe that way they could have put in the sex that they feel like everyone wants as well as the storyline that we actually wanted most. If you have seen it, tell me how you felt about it.
SHOUT OUT to the guy sitting adjacent to us that slept (complete with snoring) through the entire movie. Happy Valentine's Day to his date.
DOUBLE SHOUT OUT to the little lady (who we nicknamed Grandma, she was easily in her 80's) a few rows in front of us who laughed out loud at all the most "awkward" moments. High Five grandma!!
And to the guy that directly in front of us who said, "Did I really just pay money to watch this?" after his girlfriend was clearly upset about the cliffhanger ending. She didn't need your snide commentary so SHHH. But I guess we know what you aren't getting for Valentine's Day, hmmm.