[FILM] Fifty Shades of Grey

The date is February 14th, the year 2015. All across the land bored housewives and desperate singletons experience an intense frothing of the private parts as they flock to cinemas to watch a modern masterpiece that is heralded as being the epitome of romance. The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon continues as its cinematic instalment is unapologetically unleashed upon those of us who have read more than four books in our lives, and wholeheartedly welcomed with open arms and legs by those who haven’t. You may wonder, considering my obvious distaste, why I would subject myself not just to this “book”, but also to the film adaptation? And you may wonder why I chose this special treat for my very first returning review? Well, I haven’t Spewed in a while, and if Fifty Shades of Grey can’t tempt me into a vitriolic spew-filled rage, then nothing can.

50Shades - Poster

 

“As for the SEX? Well, I can only speak for myself, but not a single tingle or twinge was had that day. By far the sexiest scene in that film was the tense contract negotiation, wherein neither of them removed any items of clothing.”

 

So the story goes that when Anastasia Steele, a student of literature, turns up to interview business mogul and Most Eligible Bachelor in all of Seattle, Christian Grey, she falls epically in lust with him. He, too, is quite enamoured with her innocent naivete and general hotness, and begins to pursue her with a “singular” single-mindedness. The catch though, the fly in this sexy ointment, is that Christian Grey doesn’t do love. He likes his women submissive, tied up in his Red Room of Pain and totally under his thrall. Christian buys Anastasia cars and laptops and fancy first edition books, and in return she lets him smack her around a little. But here’s where the romance comes in, because Anastasia Steele is going to change her man. She’s going to help him get over his abusive childhood, put a band-aid on all of those bad feelings and make him love her. You know, like normal people.

Okay, I’ll preface this review by stating that it’s my intention to try, as hard as I can, to separate this film from the “book”, which was originally a Twilight fanfiction “written” by E.L. James.* This very same “book” would prove to half of the frustrated writers everywhere that you only need a minimal grasp of the written English language to get published, and had the other half kicking themselves for not thinking of the idea first. I hope this makes you feel a little better, or perhaps restore a little faith in your world, but the film adaptation was actually vastly superior to the source material.

"I don't make love. I fuck... hard." OOH MATRON!

“I don’t make love. I fuck… hard.” OOH MATRON!

While the dialogue was painfully cringe in places, on the whole the writing was a massive improvement. There’s no pesky “inner goddess” or other such melodramatic narrative from Ana. Christian’s abusive nature, while still evident, was played down a little, making him somewhat less of an irredeemable douchenugget. Many scenes were omitted, including the infamous “tampon” scene, which kind of disappointed me because I was so morbidly curious. At least, I have it on good authority that there was no tampon scene – for a while there I’d thought I’d missed it when I was out in the lobby bar enjoying Intermission Shots.

Truthfully, there was no intermission, I just left for ten minutes.

So, a resounding well done, “you’ve exceeded all of my (not very) many expectations”, to director Sam Taylor-Johnson and screenwriter Kelly Marcel. And a huge congratulations to Dakota Johnson, playing the virginal Anastasia Steele, who made one of the worst female protagonists I’ve ever had the displeasure of meeting in a book, actually likeable. I couldn’t believe it. She was charming and engaging, one might even go so far as to call her performance relatable. It just goes to show you that people who have legitimate talent will shine through even the most absurd and horrifically written story.

Now, for Jamie Dornan. Dornan, having convincingly played a sadistic, emotionally troubled serial killer in The Fall, initially seemed perfect to play the controlling, abusive Christian Grey. And to a certain extent he did what he was supposed to do. He was stiff, awkward and devoid of any emotion. His facial expressions ranged from distaste (which just looked curiously like constipation) to shock. I get that the latter is supposed to portray his preoccupation with Anastasia, and that it basically represents his inner battle with all of these new feels her careful love is bringing to the fore inside of him, but his constant boggle-eyed look of perpetual surprise had really started to get on my nerves by the third encounter.

Mr. Grey will see you now.

Mr. Grey will see you now.

To sum up, on the whole, it really wasn’t that bad. Predominantly, I felt one consistent emotion while watching Fifty Shades of Grey: utter boredom. This story is nowhere near good enough to fill over two hours, nor the characters interesting enough to devote same two hours to. The supporting cast were unnecessary, they added absolutely nothing, to anything, and in all honestly I think they should have just locked the main pair into that giant, red, leathery playroom for the entire duration.

As for the SEX? Well, I can only speak for myself, but not a single tingle or twinge was had that day. By far the sexiest scene in that film was the tense contract negotiation, wherein neither of them removed any items of clothing.

Seriously ladies, if it’s some decent literotica you’re looking for, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Drop me a line. I’ll hook a sister up. Concordantly, if you’d like to watch a film that explores the subtleties of a Dominant/Submissive relationship, and get an inkling of an idea for what real S&M is in the process, then dive back down into the vaults of 2002 and procure yourselves a copy of Secretary.

IMDB Rating: 4.1
Do I agree?: With music from Danny Elfman lending the feature some credibility, and a pretty solid soundtrack featuring the likes of Annie Lennox, Beyonce, Sia and even Frank Sinatra, and taking into account the uphill battle the director had with the “author”, as well as Dakota’s surprisingly charming performance, I’ve decided to be generous and give it a 3.5. Make the most of this though, as Variety reports that E.L. James is now insisting on penning the screenplays for the two remaining movies herself. This could be catastrophic for the careers of those involved, but I’d take a punt that we, the discerning viewers, will absolutely love this train-wreck as the 50 Shades phenomenon choo-choos itself right into the unintentionally hilarious, so-bad-it’s-good realm of The Room fame.

I’ll leave you with this clip of an Irish audience member at The Graham Norton Show telling it like it is last week:

 

 

* I said I’d try to separate the “book” from the film – I failed. 

Advertisements


Categories: Film, Review

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

91 replies

  1. Welcome back! (super big hugs). I hear the books do indeed get worse so those sequels should be very interesting! Could you have imagined any other well known actors in the roles?

    Like

  2. We’ve missed you around here. I went back when I saw your “like” the other day and it’s been a while. Welcome back, and looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That video made my morning … Brilliant!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hehe! Can’t beat a bit of Graham Norton to cut right through the bullshit. :D

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great to see someone else who didn’t mind the film! I thought it was alright too, it’s nowhere near as bad as it could have been! The filmmakers have focused on the books few virtues and kinda focused on them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I was really, really surprised. And I’ve been reading all sorts of reports about the author being very difficult, and how her contract states she has a LOT more control over the movie content than she should have. Imagine if she hadn’t been allowed any involvement? I think we could have had a completely different film.

          I did find it hard not to constantly draw comparisons to the book, as I waited for the film adaptation to completely tank. But the film is by far and away the superior of the two.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. And sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’s back! Awesome review for a film I would never ever watch! I’m impressed you managed to sit through it! Please tell me you didn’t subject anyone else to this cruel and unusual punishment!

    Awesome that you’re back to spewing. I’ll soon be over there so we should watch something awful and rip it apart :)

    Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! Love a bit of Bish. This cruel and unusual punishment was actually visited upon ME! One of the girls asked me to come, which of course prompted me to launch into a five minute long tirade about it, and by the end she told me she didn’t want me to come any more. So of course that made me want to come then. I said I’d go and watch it and then review it and enjoy it. Then she made me promise not to say ANYTHING negative about it at all until we’d parted company. Which was why I had to leave half way through it to get a drink, there’s only so much silence in the face of such stupidity that I can take, Kevin.

        Liked by 1 person

        • But you held on admirably! And you managed to vent on the review :)

          I hope that was a very stiff drink you had on your personal intermission hahaha

          I would only watch this film to know what the hell the director meant by “you will see the character arc in her pubic hair.” Which is terrible but at the same time oddly intriguing, like a train wreck!

          Like

          • Wuuut! That’s quite possibly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard! If I recall correctly though, Johnson definitely had a bush. Maybe as time progresses it gets less… bushy? Train wreck is right.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Direct quote: “There’s pubic hair! She actually has a bush, which is fantastic!” Sam said. “It was a conscious choice. [Lead actress Dakota Johnson] and I had a very funny discussion about the arc and journey of her pubic hair…that she should start one way, and she goes on this journey with it, and in line with how it’s written in the book is the journey of that.”

              So yeah, those words came out of that man’s mouth…

              Like

  5. Hello V!!!! Welcome back! And what a return it is. This review is great, and far superior to what I imagine this crap-tacular novel/film adaptation is/are. E.L. James sounds kind of talentless, if I may be so bold. There’s no way on earth I’m going to be seeing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Tom!!! :D Are ya well? Oh no, friends don’t let friends go and see Fifty Shades of Grey. James really is the epitome of talentless, and I’m so glad you’ve no intention of either reading, or seeing, this dross. Smart move. ;)

      I will take this hit for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Doing good over here yeah! I should go ahead and publish my own erotic novel. If E.L. James can do it, I can do it. (And I’m probably in all likelihood a worse writer.) ;)

        So sorry you had to endure this one. But by the sounds of it you managed to snag a break in the middle. I probably would’ve just walked out and not come back in lol

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think I can safely say, with 100% confidence, that you have more writing talent in your little finger. And I’d much rather read your erotic novel. Even if said novel was narrated by your “inner goddess”. In fact, that sounds hilarious. Have you an inner goddess, Tom? :D

          I was tempted to stop, I cannot lie, but the two shots of Jaeger helped me overcome.

          Like

  6. Good review. The sex was hot, but that’s about it. Everything else felt a tad dull to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Now that’s a review from the V we’ve all come to know and love. But I have to say that Fifty Shades of Grey isn’t the movie that I thought would tempt you back. I was thinking that Jupiter Ascending or maybe Insurgent would be the subject of your triumphant return.

    I didn’t read the books, but Linda did. Despite that, it was her idea to go see the movie and we took along another couple. On the way out of the theater afterwards, the other husband said “Well, that was in the top 5 worst movies I’ve ever seen.” Then he pulled out his phone and checked Rotten Tomatoes. At the time the audience score was hovering around 25%. As we watched, the score dropped to 24% and I asked, “Did you just vote?”

    I agree that the best part of the movie was the Contract negotiation scene. I thought that the wife in the other couple was going to choke when Dakota asked what a butt plug was.

    Despite the fact that it wasn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen, I don’t think that it was nearly as bad as the hype says it was. The acting wasn’t terrible and the production quality was alright. I think that the reason the scores are where they are is because the subject matter just pushes the comfort envelope too far. I’d be curious about a couple of things. 1) How many viewers had read the book first and 2) How the average woman scored it in comparison with how the average man scored it. From the discussions I’ve heard at work and with friends, my guess is that:

    Most male viewers hadn’t read the books first, so they were more surprised by the intensity of the content.

    Most female viewers had read the books and were prepared for the content.

    Most males gave it a poor to average score.

    Most females gave it an average to good score.

    I’d give it a 5.0.

    The bottom line is that good movie or not, it grossed $85 M on opening weekend despite, or perhaps because of, all the negative hype. If I were the backers of the movie, I’d let all the criticism roll off of my back as I deposited the check in the bank. :)

    Great review! But then, no one reviews a movie like you do V. Welcome back young lady!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going to make a vow now, JF, that the next film I review will be something I actually like. Snark is fun, it’s my Spew bread and butter, if you will, but I’m dying to watch something enjoyable. Something I can make a few positive notes in my head for while watching!

      I am loving this image of you and Linda on a double-date with another couple to see 50 Shades of Grey. I think that’s brilliant. But hilarious. What I wouldn’t give to listen in on the conversations had while driving home in the car. You guys are the first couple I’ve heard of going to see it together, so far.

      Which brings me to your next point: Male vs Female Viewers. There was not one single solitary man in the entire theatre when I went. None. Wall to wall ladies. Not just that though, but it was painfully obvious that every single one of these ladies had read the books. Gaggles of them. All sighing, cheering and sniggering on cue, as though they were just waiting to see certain scenes on screen and then react, en masse, appropriately. There was a scene (I’m sure you’ll remember) at an aiport during which Christian Grey introduces Anastasia as his girlfriend for the first time to some randomer. The entire cinema CHEERED. I mean, wtf is wrong with these people. 1. We’re Irish, we don’t cheer in cinemas. The only exceptions being for films based in certain periods of our Irish history, and certain scenes that denote us besting our foes during aforementioned certain periods. And maybe, sometimes, when the dog lives. That’s it. We don’t cheer. I was appalled. And 2. Why in the name of Jaysis would you cheer when he calls her is girlfriend!? Give me strength, JF. What is wrong with these women.

      Sorry, I’ve gone a bit off-point, but essentially I think you’re right. The ladies going to see it have read the books, know what to expect. The men going to see it have no idea, view it on its own merit, think it’s pretty bad. That doesn’t mean to say I think they should read it, but the film wasn’t all that horrible. Not when compared to the books. I think that’s probably having some bearing on my opinion.

      Are you curious to read it? I’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t be able to get past the third chapter. :D

      I’m glad to be back. I’ll have more time for my blog now, so I’ll be around to bug ya incessantly.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I’m not planning to read the entire trilogy, but Linda has agreed to point me to the more interesting scenes.

        As a side note, as we left the theater, the wife in the other couple, who happens to be the HR manager where I work, unleashed a rapid fire series of questions about what comes next. Linda wouldn’t tell her, but the next day I took Linda’s spare Nook in to work with a freshly loaded copy of the trilogy for her to read. I’m still waiting for her review of the book.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Well look who’s back? :D Welcome back and good to see you’re blogging again! I can’t say I’m interested in seeing 50 Shades but then again I’m not the target audience. Great review, I’m sure it’s much more entertaining than the movie itself haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YAAYY! I was hanging around last week and was so very happy to find out you’re still doing recaps! I’ll be over as soon as I watch the latest TWD ep. :D How are things going? All well with your good self I hope?

      If you ask me, nobody should be interested in seeing 50 Shades. Honestly, I don’t know why I do these things to myself. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m doing pretty good, I hope all is well with you too. TWD is the only show nowadays I’ve been doing consistent recaps on, only 8 episodes per half season makes it easier to keep up. :) It’ll be great to hear what you think of the latest TWD eps.

        I think you took a bullet for us with 50 Shades haha, I hear there’s sequels coming, yikes!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I get ya, sometimes people don’t realise how much work goes into a recap, and how much time it can take! They’re deceptively tricky.

          Two more possible 50 Shades. It can only go downhill from here. :D

          Like

  9. Good to see you’re back!! With a BANG!! ;-) No mincing words… straight to the point! As I’ve said before… I don’t do movies and I certainly haven’t (or ever will) read the book but I certainly do enjoy your reviews… imagine… literotica… sounds ghastly… but maybe even you deserve way more than 3.5 on the scale for your review! :-P

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry… let me correct that! … but maybe even so, you deserve way more than 3.5 on the scale for your review! :-P

      Liked by 1 person

    • LOL AJ! Literotica… it’s quite a descriptive word, isn’t it? Conjures up all sorts. Sounds ghastly, indeed. :D

      It’s good to be back and it’s great to see you. Those were absolutely fabulous Robin pics you put up the other day. We actually have a pair in the garden that we see from time to time, he’s quite the cheeky chappy. See you soon pal. ;)

      Like

  10. Great to see you back. Excellent review, may see this film just so I can give my thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Vinnie! And thanks! It’s lovely to be back among all of my fav bloggers. This is probably a little cruel, but there’s a part of me that really wants you to see it so I can read your thoughts. There’s something a little cathartic about seeing a bad movie and then letting loose on it in a review! I’ll look forward to yours if you decide to do one. ;)

      Like

  11. Women call me a perv for playing ecchi games, but they then flock to the cinema to watch this? I am confused.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Seriously hypocritical, isn’t it? Never mind mate, to be honest the kind of lady who thinks ecchi games are pervy and believes the likes of 50 Shades is quality romantic entertainment are not the kind of ladies you’d want to even bother with.

      Women, eh? ;P

      Like

  12. The return of Verbal Spew. Highlight of my Valentine’s day.

    And the one thing that could tempt me into watching this movie would be an intermission shots bar.

    Also you may have just become the erotica dealer of WordPress. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Think of the earning potential, Luke! Imagine, all of those starved women out there, dying to relive their 50 Shades of Grey naughty glory days, looking for a substitute and not even realising that there’s PORN ALL OVER THE INTERNET. I’d be crazy not to take advantage and get in on this action.

      Intermission Shots should become a thing.

      I thought the highlight of your Valentine’s Day was Endless Love? :o

      <3

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You’re back!!! Woo Hoo!!! That is MUCH more exciting that the thought of ever sitting through Fifty Shades. It looks and sounds utterly intolerable to me so I will happily take your word for it ! :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha Keith! You have buckets of sense, my friend. Stay away from that one, you don’t want to end up all bitter and angry like me. Great to see you though, hope all is well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m with Keith on this one V. I have zero interest whatsoever in this one, even when I first heard about it a few years ago when an acquaintance of mine was obsessed w/ the book. It looks intolerably bad, but I have to admit I’ve enjoyed reading the hilarious reviews bashing this movie, ahah.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re so right Ruth, the reviews of this are by far the best part! In particular I love the book reviews – the ones written by people who have actually read a book before in their lives and know the difference between decent literature and complete dross. I think I can safely say you would absolutely hate all aspects of this franchise. :D

          Like

  14. I think this –

    sums up how I feel about this :].

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Great review! I’m loving all the hatred for this. I’ve not read it or seen the movie but I hate it anyway. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a completely reasonable opinion to have. I wish everyone was as sensible as you are, Mutant. I myself had to read it, for no other reason than an inexplicable need to know what everyone was talking about. D: I learned a harsh lesson that day.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Amazing write-up! This film was just so limp, for lack of a better word. I wish they had included the tampon scene, I have never laughed as hard as I did when that monstrosity occurred in the book. Also imagine just how bad this would have been if they had included the “inner goddess”. Maybe if James is writing the next two she’ll include it. Hopefully not though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Anna! And limp – how perfect. That’s exactly the right word to describe this experience. That tampon scene… holy hell. At first I yelled, “OMG! EW!” aloud, and then I just burst into near hysterical laughter. Total disbelief. I mean, why!? Hilarious.

      I hope James does write the remaining two and I hope she does re-introduce the “inner goddess”, because imagine how horrifically hilarious that would be? :D

      Like

  17. Haven’t heard from you in months and the first thing you do is review 50 shades of Grey?!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. what a great clip. i have absolutely no desire to read or watch any of them. thanks for taking the bullet for those of us who wont V :)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. “Irredeemable douchenugget” – my term for the day! Thank you for that.

    Awesome review V! I really can’t see myself going in for this at any stage, ever. I can’t bring myself to read these because I can see it being the death of my Kindle, and I love my baby. It deserves no such abuse!

    Oh wow, you have some wares to be peddling for the literotica movement hahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I couldn’t recommend this to you pal, not after the trauma you’ve just been through with Twilight. Think that’s bad? This is infinitely worse. Reading that book will go down as one of my greatest regrets. Which sounds very melodramatic but honestly, I couldn’t delete them from my Kindle quick enough.

      Although it has given me a lot of rant fodder, so there’s that positive.

      I can’t wait to write my first smutty story. Butt Plugs for Betty (working title). Betty holds very intelligent conversations with inanimate objects that each speak with a different accent. That’s all I’ve got so far.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thank you ever so kindly for that. I don’t think I would manage something WORSE than those books. Ugh.

        Hmmmm… that’s how I felt after reading the Twilight books. Sometimes something good comes from something so damaged hahahaha.

        Yes. See, you can write that. And make millions. Get on that IMMEDIATELY.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. V, you’re back!!! We all missed you! And you’ve knocked it out of the park with this review!

    Umm i’m curious yet really scared to ask what the so-called ‘tampon scene’ involves. Actually, maybe i don’t want to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Great review V! I haven’t seen the film, but I imagine I’m not missing much. I agree with you about Jamie Dornan. He has an air of “I’m way too good for this” about him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers J! Have you read the book? I would assume not, you’re far too intelligent. Definitely do not see this film. I’d be curious to know if any of your students have? That would appal me, ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha, now I feel ashamed to admit that I did read the book. Just the first one though. I feel it’s important to know your enemy. It was drivel. Absolute drivel.
        I can imagine they have, not that they’d tell me! Some of the stuff they get up to, you’d be shocked!
        I can’t believe that E.L. James is insisting on writing the sequels’ screenplays. They’ll be even worse!

        Liked by 1 person

  22. Long time no see V! Why did you deprive us of your presence for soooo long?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This review gave me both tingles and twinges.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Awesome review V! I only read the first book when it came out, and that was so I could review it for my library’s blog. Oh fine. I was curious too. I don’t think I’ve ever read such absolute garbage in my life! I honestly think James is certifiable. Unfortunately she’s now filthy rich because too many people think she’s the end all and be all of erotica. Anyway, I’m not surprised that the movie is better than the book. I mean how much worse could it have been? Just the absence of “my inner goddess” raises it up a notch! I shudder to think though what the other movies are going to be like if James is writing the screenplays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Kim! Imagine, making all that money for writing that drivel. It boggles the mind when you think about it. I don’t know which is worse, that she made millions off such rubbish, or that so many women think it’s amazing literature. I guess, when you think about it, it’s a little sad that this is the best literature some people have been exposed to! Makes the rest of us that much more grateful for being avid readers. ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I admit that this is the first review I read once I followed your blog as it would be sure shot litmus test to check the review of something you hate to attempt when so much good literature/movie fighting for precious time. I love the review in a way that you have provided perfect reason to calm lustiness winning over always dependable brain.
    Love to read other reviews now.

    Like

Trackbacks

  1. [NEWS] The Sunday Spew (22nd February 2015) | The Verbal Spew Review
  2. February 2015 Favourites | FILM GRIMOIRE

What do YOU think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: