Monday, 16 February 2015

50 Shades of Grey Film Review
I was a bit unsure about whether to write this post or not as I don't usually write film reviews, but after reading and watching a lot of scathing reviews about 50 Shades of Grey which are ultimately affecting people's decisions on watching it (for example Lisa Wilkinson's review here), as well as people openly telling others not to watch it, I decided to add my thoughts into the mix. I will express that these are just my views, you may agree with me, you may not, but we are all entitled to our own opinion. There are some little spoilers ahead, but I'll give you warning before you read them!

I'll start by saying I haven't read the books, so I was going into the cinema with an open mind not really knowing what to expect. In my head, I imagined an adult version of Twilight with equally cringey lines, acting and 'romantic' plot, with the added dose of soft porn. Needless to say my expectations weren't high. But I was actually pleasantly surprised!

The script isn't amazing, but considering the quality of the writing of the book (or so I've heard), they didn't really have a solid base to go with anyway. This offers some hilarious lines, especially at the beginning of the film, resulting in the strangest interview I've ever seen and Christian Grey stating that "I'm not the man for you" after meeting Anastasia Steele maybe a total of three times - a bit presumptuous! The depiction of the passive and innocent girl that is Ana does get quite tiresome at the beginning of the film, and you cannot help but seriously question why Ana didn't run away from Christian as soon as he "just happens" to turn up at her work, or when he finds out where she's clubbing without telling him (creepy stalker alert), but in my opinion this is just a huge flaw in her character. This is not a generalisation of the whole of womankind as passive characters who should fall at the feet of any dominant male. However, it does allow for character development throughout the film.
Now, the sex scenes. For most people I know who were unsure about going to see the film, the focus on sex and the possibility of it just turning into soft porn was the main reason why. However, there are a total of around 4 sex scenes, equating to perhaps only 20 minutes of the film. In England this is an 18 film, so there is nudity, but nothing horrendously graphic; we see no willy at any point, just mainly boob and bum (pardon my bluntness, but come on, I think we're past politeness considering the theme of the film). For me personally this wasn't that big a deal, in fact it was actually a relief to have a film that focused more on plot and character development rather than graphic sex, but I've read reviews in which people have complained it is "disappointingly vanilla". Let's be clear here, if you are going in expecting to see a pornography, you will be disappointed. In Lisa Wilkinson's review I've linked above she complains about how the film didn't make her want to go home and have sex with her husband. Well no, because in my opinion that's not what the film is intending to do. Just because a film's main plot premise is sex based doesn't mean in any way that it is aimed to "excite" you. Maybe that's what the books were for, but that's not the intention of the film.

Another big problem that people have been protesting about is the film's apparent "glorification" of abusive relationships. Now, I'm fully aware that this is a huge issue and one to be dealt with seriously and sensitively, but in my opinion it is an inaccurate interpretation of the film. 50 Shades of Grey focuses on a BDSM lifestyle, which bases itself around having a dominant controlling a submissive, with sadomasochism being a primary part of the role play. In every sex scene of the film, Ana gives Mr Grey consent and clearly enjoys it; the things she does not feel comfortable doing, she demands Christian strike them off the contract, which he does. However, this controlling aspect overflows into every day life, with Mr Grey's contract asking to control ridiculous aspects of Ana's life, including what she eats, how much she drinks, where she sleeps. This is where the BDSM aspect is questioned, with the film instead breaking the boundaries of role play and transforming it into a 24/7 manipulation and control. However, in my opinion the film does not glorify this. It does not present this as an ok thing to do. Mr Grey is a manipulative control freak with serious psychological issues from his childhood. Through the little glimpse into his history, it is immediately drawn to our attention that this control is not normal.

The main reason why I do not think the film glorifies abuse is through the ending **SPOILER ALERT**; as soon as Ana is punished (which, may I add, she asks Christian to do, he does not force it upon her), she transforms from the submissive and stands up for herself, leaving and telling Christian to stay away from her. She has the final word here, and all power is taken away from Christian. If, for example, Ana had instead immediately forgiven Christian for hurting her rather than walking out, then yes, it would be supporting domestic abuse, but by having the originally passive protagonist end the film by walking away from Christian, the film acknowledges the problem of this abuse and reacts against it.

No, 50 Shades of Grey is not the best film ever made. No, it probably won't be winning any awards. Yes, the script is hilarious at points. However, don't be pulled into judging this film before actually seeing it for yourself. Like me, you may be surprised. If you aren't, go just for the soundtrack, because that's top notch.

Are any of you considering watching 50 Shades of Grey or have already seen it? What did you think about it?

Love, Beth xxx


  1. I went to see it and loved it, great review! x

  2. Loved this review and I don't come across much film reviews which I find refreshing! I still haven't went to see 50 shades or gray but might do soon x | OnePiece Giveaway

    1. Aw thank you! Glad you liked reading it :) xxx