Fifty Shades Of Grey Review

Fifty Shades Of Grey Review

By Catherine Brown

Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Stars: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle

Rating: MA15+

Currently screening at cinemas around Sydney.

Naïve university student, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), grows enamored with the enigmatic billionaire, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). However, in order to attain any connection with the guarded Grey, Anastasia must allow herself to be initiated into his peculiar secret life of confronting predilections.

The novel Fifty Shades Of Grey polarised popular culture upon its release in 2011. Many saw it as harmless escapism, while others lambasted its sexual content, weak female protagonist and the unorthodox-and for many disturbing-romance at its heart. It is no surprise then that the film is attracting the same criticisms. However, the problem with Fifty Shades Of Grey is not its subject matter. After all, the world is full of imperfect relationships, flawed people and dark machinations. The predominate fault that both the novel and the film share is a glaring lack of depth and insight when it comes to the presentation and exploration of the controversial content.

Given the deft skill in which she crafted the deeply layered and profoundly moving John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, one would think that director, Sam Taylor- Johnson, would be the ideal choice to handle the complexities of Fifty Shades of Grey. Disappointingly, the film possesses a cold and stilted tonality that renders it near impossible for the audience to become invested on any satisfying level. Compounding matters is Johnson and Dornan’s lackluster chemistry, which fails to sell the emotional connection between the characters.

The vapid screenplay is also something of a disaster. Lines and scenarios that were easier to put over in the novel prove disastrously awkward and unrealistic on screen. Many of the characters also feel utterly superfluous as the film lacks the luxury of affording them adequate context.

In summation, viewers do have cause to be wary of Fifty Shades Of Grey, just not for the reasons that one might assume from the media brouhaha.

2 out of 5 stars

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