Saturday, February 14, 2015
Fifty Shades of Grey
OK, this is clearly not a film made for me, but I do know some of the people it is made for and they will mostly be happy to have it to go with their copies of the book. You know , the one that started off as fan fiction porn inspired by "Twilight" and then pulled from on-line and published in traditional form so that all the Moms who don't have access to the internet can perv out on it as well. After all the hype about the percentage of time the film spends with the leads naked, I'm afraid I found it a lot less enticing than I expected. I also found it less laughable than most of the reviews and comments from skeptics make it out to be. This is not an endorsement, just a recognition that this film works pretty much the way most "romance" films do, only with an over-hyped sense of kink.
There is not really much point in belaboring the issue, the reason people are going to see this is the BDSM angle the film has on the story. The rest of what you get is standard romance novel plotting about a girl from modest means falling for a rich guy who is really good looking. That's it. They have the usual slow build up to sharing their feelings, the one where we see them meet, do a little social tangle, push back against the feelings, and then give in to them. This is the stuff of a thousand books and movies. It is sprinkled here with the elaborate lifestyle that a billionaire can lead, so the wooing includes helicopter flights, luxury cars and the freedom that comes from being able to buy whatever you want. Sometimes that includes trying to buy the attention (not love) of the girl you are smitten with.
People who are deriding the film as amateurish and the dialogue as laughable , are simply taking a position. The movie is competently made with some very standard scenes of budding romance and some deliberately silly humor. It does not rise to any great levels but it is certainly not the steaming pile that it is accused of being. I thought it felt over long and I was surprised at how long it took to get to the "good stuff". When the sex scenes show up, there is barely a sense of eroticism in the start and by the end of the film, it was sort of dull that we get another round of whipping, this time destined to create a cliff hanger for the next film in the series.
I don't want to get into the sexual politics that a story like this invites. I just saw a rant from my daughter on tumblr concerning Anne Rice's defense of the film, and I really don't want to get involved. My kid is smarter than I am and very articulate and also full of opinions that I don't agree with. Instead of spending time discussing a piece of pop ephemera, I'd rather just avoid the subject and let those with passion on the subject have their say. I don't feel passionate about this film one way or the other, that should be enough for anyone to make a judgement about whether they want to see it.