A coven of women collected around the table, scouting for what they would claim as their prize if their number was called. I didn’t bother, my number never gets called. Instead I drank wine and chatted to other members of the Wellington Yummy Mummy Club about writing and about what we thought the film would be like.
I hadn’t read the books. I tend to silently boycott popular books, films and T.V shows until I feel so left out of party conversations I submit and read them. Only to feel like I’ve missed the boat when people stare at me blankly after I start raving about them years too late (Breaking Bad).
The group clustered around the table of 50 Shades themed prizes as the raffle began. I was half listening as the first number was called out. I half-heartedly checked my tickets. When I saw the first number the whip clad MC had just called staring back at me I was dumbfounded. It’s me! I called a little to excitedly as I made my way to the table to choose my prize. I had the first pick of the lot. Ohmigodohmigodohmigod what to choose? I had no idea. In a panic I reached for the mystery mega pack of sex toys.
I could have had a $300 dollar woollen throw, a free one hour massage, a hamper of organic meat. I chose the sex toys. Clearly the excitement of 50 Shades had gotten to me, books read or not.
After we all sauntered into the cinema and took our seats the film began. A pretty yet plain Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) getting ready, looking at herself in the mirror while her flu-infected room mate looks on, daring to comment on her dour fashion sense. But Anastasia just laughs because she’s a bit of a doormat.
Though I haven’t read the books I have heard from many readers that the character of Anastasia was a tad flawed as she is supposedly very pretty but does not know it. Usually girls who are very pretty do know it. But in the film Dakota Johnson is just the right about of plain to make this work. She has the potential to scrub up well if she’d stop hunching her shoulders, smack on some lipstick and speak up.
Things were going ok for the film until the arrival of Christian Grey. His entrance, or really Anastasia’s entrance/stumble into his office, is awkward, odd and laugh out loud cheesy. I can’t put my finger on why. Was it the film angle? The way that Christian bounds over to Anastasia to help her up or his mock concern at her clumsy fall. A concern that doesn’t seem right considering his character.
Christian Grey is an enigma. An odd character with no real essence. Jamie Dornan who plays him did not manage to find any depth to this cardboard cut out of a character, instead he continued to flounder on the surface. I did not believe for one minute that Christian Grey was a real person.
Not surprisingly the best thing about this film was the many sex scenes. I found them most enjoyable indeed, however they were anything but wild. Sure there were some whips and some blindfolds but sex wise they were actually quite tame.
There was one scene which really seemed to work. The business meeting between Christian and Anastasia gave the actors a chance to finally add some depth and humour to the story. This was one place where Dornan got to show some of his talent.
Story wise the plot was odd. Drama for the sake of drama, illogical emotional digressions and hurt feelings where there shouldn’t be, lead the plot to take bizarre and unnecessary turns.
Personally I was confused. A super rich dude wants you to be his. He wants to buy you stuff, take you on helicopters and show you off at parties. He also wants to tie you up and whip you a bit and then make you come multiple times. What’s the problem here? I see no problem. You’re young. It doesn’t have to be forever. Just enjoy it for god sake. But she can’t cus that would be boring.
Though Mr Grey is an enigma in this film, supposedly he has a past that we will learn about more in the next film/book. So I guess Dornan’s portrayal of Mr Grey can only improve as the films go on.
One thing’s for sure, 50 Shades has proven to be quite the cash cow, with over 100 million copies sold and the film making $237.7 million in the first weekend alone. Plenty of couples have also claimed that reading 50 shades has improved their marriage exponentially. I figure if it works, go for it!
So will I be seeing the next film? Who knows, by next year I may need a whole new set of sex toys.