Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey, is the movie adapted from the book, edited from the fan fiction of the movie adapted from the book that’s slightly derivative of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

FSoG is interesting in that in a world that seems [sc name=ttext title=”hur hur” text=”dominated” ] by movies targeted to males aged 29 or younger, FSoG is based on material almost exclusively for middle aged women. I say this as a 23 year old male who’s read the entire trilogy (yes, really).

The books are written by a 50-something woman for other women to flick their bean to fantasising that they’re a 21 year old tight vagina’d virgin; with a damaged but fixable billionaire obsessed with them who they can fall in love with, fix with motherly care, and live happily ever after in domestic bliss. Oh and there’s some kinky stuff too.

FSoG is a Self-Insert Fic – Ana is basically perfect. She’s 21, a virgin and has mind shattering orgasms and can deep throat a cock like a champ. The movie adapts out most of this, and a lot of the stuff that seems to make the book appeal to women. That scene where Grey casually pulls out Ana’s bloody tampon and earns his red wings is gone from the movie, as is all the inner goddess/ unconscious talk. The movie takes a disappointedly conventional approach to the depiction of genders. Gone too is the scene where Ana sucks on a “Chrstian Grey flavor popsicle” (direct quote from the book).

There are plenty of fairly tame shots of Dakota Johnson’s breasts that feel almost exploitative given that you see nothing of Jamie Dornan. This is a movie that should be for women, but there’s not a single cock shot let alone a shot of an erection. FSoG isn’t the movie I thought that would be pushing boundaries, but it’s disappointing that it doesn’t even try.

The narrative is a 1:1 copy of the novel, which means virtually all of the narrative criticism from the books carries over. The deception of BDSM is still shaky. EL James uses BDSM as a plot device to have Grey’s early abusive upbringing cast a dark shadow into his adulthood, for Ana to fix with her motherly love. I believe that James is intelligent enough to know her writing conflates abuse and BDSM, but not a good enough writer to fix it.

I feel like this mutes, if not invalidates, most of the criticisms I hear about the narrative. Yes, Christian Grey isn’t very believable as a character who could exist in reality,  but it doesn’t really matter. The story is a what if – what if your self inserted avatar could meet, win over and fix a damaged billionaire.

Sadly it carries over some of the poor research from the book. Grey surprising Ana at her job in the hardware store is passable as a romantic gesture, but cable ties are not good for bondage! And of course, it carries the clunky dialogue from the books.

FSoG, the movie, is tamed from the lewd female fantasy of the books to the middle of the road romantic drama. Albeit with a little more nudity and a little more BDSM than one would typically expect from a mainstream movie.

Rating

Passable for fans of the books. Missable for everyone else, unless you want to see what all the fuss is about.

4.5/10

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