If You Didn't Read Fifty Shades of Grey, You're in For a Very Strange Journey
OK, I'm going to start with a little bit of intense honesty: I couldn't bring myself to read Fifty Shades of Grey. That does not, however, mean I wasn't excited to see the movie adaptation. There was plenty out there to drum up excitement; the sultry motion picture soundtrack was surprisingly good, and I did my research on all the questions I had going in. But then I saw it, and I have to say, I was kind of underwhelmed. Even after figuring out what they changed from the book, I found myself asking, "Is that it?" Keep reading to find out why Fifty Shades of Grey just wasn't everything I thought it would be. Spoiler alert, obviously.
The Movie Doesn't Actually Have That Much Sex
- Listen, based on the previews and the way everyone talks about the book, I was expecting more than half of the movie to be hot sex. Actually, closer to 90 minutes of the 125-minute running time. In truth, though, there's maybe 20 to 30 minutes total sexy time, and some of it isn't even hardcore or kinky.
- The harsh truth I learned is that the story is much more about their tumultuous relationship and their opposing wants. Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) does not, as I assumed, throw herself into Christian's (Jamie Dornan) world. She actually resists it every step of the way, all the way to the end. I'm not saying I was mad they didn't have hot sex the whole time — I just would've liked a heads-up.
There Are a Lot of Things That Are Never Really Explained
- Why do Anastasia and her roommate move to Seattle two weeks before graduation? That makes little to no logistical sense.
- Also, they go to dinner together at his parents' house, at Grey Manor (or whatever you want to call it), and we never even see them talking about it. Like, is her roommate's relationship with his brother even real?
- Does Christian Grey live in his gargantuan office building, the Grey House? Or does he live in a separate building? I couldn't even tell.
- Also, what's with those raggedy jeans Christian wears in the playroom? Like, can we get a line or two telling us what those are all about?
- Laters, baby? Really?
There's Not Much Insight Into the BDSM World
- We're kind of thrust into this unfamiliar territory — well, unfamiliar for most of us — with the whole "dominant" and "submissive" thing. They talk in abstract about "rules" and "punishment" and "safe words," but we only get a few glimpses of it in practice. Anastasia never even uses the safe words.
- What's more, how did Christian go from being a submissive for six years to being a dominant? Is that how that works? Do you just suddenly decide you want to switch roles? It seemed weird.
There's No Male Full-Frontal Nudity
- In a movie where Christian says something along the lines of, "I want you to be unashamed of your naked body," shouldn't he follow suit? I think we needed full frontal Christian.
There Are Many Attempts at Backstory, and None of Them Stick
- First of all, every supporting character got a special still in the promotional images, from Christian's entire family to Anastasia's photographer friend who's so insignificant, his name escapes me. And that's kind of the point. None of these characters pull a huge weight in the film, except maybe Anastasia's roommate. Christian's family and Anastasia's family both get a couple measly scenes each, during which we find out little to nothing about them.
- Why does Christian's mom stop by for less than a minute, then leave? Why don't we see more of Christian's brother and Anastasia's roommate (again, I forget their names)? If you're going to highlight side characters, at least flesh them out a little, right?
The Sex Actually Isn't All That Hardcore or Scandalizing
- The sex isn't all that shocking. There, I said it. Most of it is pretty PG-13. There are some moments that raised my eyebrows, sure, but even in the scene where Anastasia really commits to Christian's world, he teases her with a peacock feather and some light whipping.
- When Anastasia asks for the absolute worst, I was immediately thinking he'd hang her up, blindfold her, and bring out the big guns. I wasn't expecting him to bend her over a table and hit her six times with a belt. I'm not a sadist by any means, but I was thinking, "Is that really the worst it gets?"
The Ending Is Really Abrupt and Confusing
- Is this how the book ends?! It's just so abrupt. Like, I get it, there are two sequels. But, what if they hadn't green-lighted them? Would we have to live with that terrible cliffhanger forever?