I have been writing about 50 Shades – along with almost every other journalist in the UK.
It wasn’t altogether easy. No: not because the film was awful (i wouldn’t quite go that far); but because press passes were in short supply and i ended up watching it, courtesy of Cineworld’s Press Office, at my local cinema.
Mmmm! Eroticism, allegedly, on a damp and overcast Friday at Cineworld Stevenage. I think not.
Long version short: i did not much like it, but equally, i am unimpressed by the oodles of learned scribbling that this film has given rise to.
It is a slight and inconsequential film which, without the hype afforded it, in many instances by those who hate it, would probably have sunk without trace. Instead, it seems destined to surf to box office success on a tide of infamy.
I don’t like the way the romantic elements are played – but wonder if others who dislike those have actually watched many films lately. Because control, imposition and disrespected boundaries are the very essence of what passes for romance in mainstream film.
I am puzzled by the dislike of portraying a shitty character like Christian Grey on screen: it is very clear from the way in which the narrative plays that his life philosophy is not endorsed – and his amour, Anastasia Steele does not go along with it. In other words, he’s a baddy, who is due either to change or to get his comeuppance.
Yet to read some of the reviews one might imagine the portrayal of baddies is, in itself verboten. So never again are we to see a biopic featuring Hitler or Stalin?
Equally, some reviewers seem to consider that once established, characters are fixed forever more. Are they? Do we really believe that? In which case, perhaps we should all just give up on the politics and go home, because nothing will ever change?
And i am puzzled at the insistence of some reviewers that Grey gets Anastasia to sign a diabolical contract. No, he doesn’t. That is, one way or another, the entire point of the film: sill she, won’t she?
Maybe that saves you having to read the reviews. So i leave you with a small piece of trivia that struck me as odd:
What is it with all these Greys (a squirrel asks):
Mr Grey (Jamie Dornan) is villain of the piece in Fifty Shades. Before him was Edward Grey (James Spader) who took on the dominant role in the last major bdsm film to hit the box office, Secretary. And hands up who remembers psychotic dominant, John Gray (Mickey Rourke) with whom Kim Basinger found herself briefly entangled in the 1986 film of sex and inappropriate eating habits, Nine 1/2 Weeks?
Moral: if you are invited out to lunch by a Mr Grey – however he spells it – tell him you’re already tied up!