Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

I’m not sure Fifty Shades of Grey is really a movie.

It is indeed several scenes, containing filmed images, dialogue, and occasionally music, but it is not a coherent cohesive anything.

Dakota Johnson plays the boring Anastasia (Ana for short!), who in a fateful turn of events finds herself interviewing Christian Grey, the most eligible bachelor billionaire in the greater metropolitan area. From their first encounter, Christian is captivated by Ana (more than I can say for myself) and finds her an excellent candidate to be his next Submissive.

[Note: Ana is a creature from an alternate universe where they haven’t heard of S&M, and despite her having a 4.0 GPA (as she tells her roommate Kate, and us, in her first speaking scene), she knows nothing ofalternative forms of romance. It is a brilliant flash of irony that, in the same stage of life as her graduation from university, she gets a whole different kind of education from Mr. Grey.]

Christian (played well by Jamie Dornan) is a Dominant, who likes to be in control “of all aspects of [his] life” (that’s an actual quote), culminating in an extensive contract and non-disclosure agreement with his Submissive-to-be, of what they will and will not do. This is basically the backbone of the whole movie, so the stakes aren’t exceptionally high or compelling. (Ariel’s contract in The Little Mermaid was way better.)

What doesn’t make sense is the contract only matters sometimes, as their love affair begins regardless and pushes Ana further (no pun intended) with each additional encounter. The love scenes are actually filmed very well, underscored effectively with the soundtrack (also very good), creating probably the most erotic scenes you’ll get out of a Redbox anytime soon.

But then occasionally, they’ll bicker back and forth in negotiations around the contract – and it suddenly does matter again. Eventually, Ana gives up and leaves, though what causes her change of heart isn’t very clear. Though love is not clear as black and white – it is in shades of grey. (Get it?)

This movie is not exceptionally good, but it is interesting enough to stick through and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey is a nice surprise given the soppy source material.


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