Thursday, 12 March 2015

Films for Thoughts on Thursday: Fifty Shades of Grey Review & Discussion


This is a weekly meme that I am hosting here at Reviews from a Bookworm. To take part all you have to do is share a movie review once a week, link back to Reviews from a Bookworm and add your link to the linky tool.


This weeks movie review will be for:


Fifty Shades of Grey


That's right people, I have actually watched the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Now this is a big deal. I consider this a big deal because I have read the books and I absolutely hated them. They were so poorly written that they were actually painful to get through. Not to mention that it started as Twilight fanfiction means it has far too many similarities to it, and it also has one of the most useless and unlikeable lead characters of all time. When I heard the movie was coming out I had absolutely 0 interest in seeing it. None at all. There was no way I was going to pay to sit in a cinema and watch that movie. So what changed? Well there were two things... 1. Christina's review where she basically laughed the whole way through, whilst still admitting it was enjoyable to watch. She got me so intrigued and made me actually consider seeing it. & 2. I didn't have to go to the cinema to see it.

So.... How was it?
It's actually surprising me that I can write the following sentence.
FIFTY SHADES WASN'T THE WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!

Jimmy Fallon Shocked animated GIF
Shocking, I know!

Now I am going to warn you that this is probably going to be a long post. That's because it's not only a review, but also a discussion. I have a few issues that I have with things that are being said about this movie and I really want to address them. But I also want your opinions on them. So get ready, one long ass review/discussion is about to go down right now. 

Colin Farrell I Dont Care animated GIF
Would I recommend it?!? 
I'm going to do something I don't usually do with my reviews, I'm going to start straight away with whether or not I would recommend this movie or not. The honest answer is that it is going to entirely depend on you as an individual. If you have zero interest in seeing this film then I'd suggest skipping it. If you're kind of curious like I was then I'd probably say give it a try, but wait for the DVD or when you can stream from the comfort of your own home. And if you're one of those people who were desperate to see it, then I'm certain you already have and can tell me what you thought in the comments below. Movies are just like books in the way that they split opinions, some will loath it, some will love it and many people will fall somewhere between the two. I'm a faller, it wasn't amazing but I've seen way worse movies in my life.

It's rather shocking to me that I didn't absolutely hate this movie, I was so convinced that I was going to hate it. But then I didn't! It's not a cinematic masterpiece and it's not something I'd probably rush to watch again, but I was suitably entertained. I actually laughed at this movie and only cringed a couple of times. I feel like my ridiculously low expectations might have had something to do with this. It's hard for a movie to ever be as bad as I was imagining this movie would be. I think going in with the lowest of expectations is probably the best way to go into this movie because then it's only up from there.

Laugh Laughing animated GIF
"Anal fisting... cross that out!"
Dakota Johnson was most definitely my favourite thing in this movie and probably the reason why I didn't end up hating this. She is HILARIOUS! Seriously, she brings all the much needed humour to this movie that I needed. I hated Ana in the books, she was just so incredibly useless and wound me up so much. Dakota makes her a likeable character. It probably helps that she doesn't say Oh my god! every five seconds or talk constantly about her 'inner goddess' like she does in the book. I laughed so much at her character in this movie, something that I was not expecting at all. My favourite scene would probably have to be during her 'business meeting' with Christian, where they are discussing the terms of the contract. It's not every day that an actress will have me in fits of giggles whilst she discusses fisting.

Ana shows a lot of growth over the course of this movie. She's a huge pushover in the beginning and continues that way for most of the movie. And people seem to have a weird habit of stealing her food. I literally have no idea how she handles that. There's literally a scene where she makes a sandwich, after asking her friend if she wanted one and her saying no, for her friend to then come and take the sandwich. And she says NOTHING! What's wrong with her? I would have a total Joey moment and have to be like 'Bitch, seriously put down my sandwich or I will hurt you!'.

It's only fair to give my take on Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, and I admit that I fall into the category of people that don't really get it. I didn't find the character at all attractive or sexy in the book and I still don't when it comes to the movie. It doesn't help that Jamie Dornan is very wooden in this movie, and not the kind of wooden that Christian Grey spends most of the book being. I was also put off by his weird accent, which I'm still not sure what it was supposed to be. He's an Irish actor so I think it just sounds weird because he hasn't managed to perfect an American accent yet. It just sounds like he's in pain every time he talks. 

I felt that the movie plays out a lot more light and fluffy in comparison to the book. Well, as light and fluffy as a movie with a red room of pain can possibly get. It's main problem is that there really isn't much of a plot, it's just all about Christian and Ana trying to make the relationship work. But that is rather dull and boring and doesn't really work to keep you interested. This is why I recommended watching it from the comfort of your own home if you do want to watch it. It means during the slower, duller parts that you can keep yourself amused with something else. If I'd paid to see this in the cinema then I would probably have been a lot more annoyed with this film, constantly checking the time to see how much more of it I had to endure.

When you're reading the book and watching the movie it is very clear that this started as Twilight fanfiction. You can easily see which Fifty Shades character is based on which Twilight character. From Anastasia's insistence of 'it's just Ana', to her ridiculous clumsiness that see's her literally fall into Christians office. Then we have Christian, the broody guy who is always insisting that Ana should stay away from him because he's no good for her! But that one thing that this has in common with the Twilight films that is actually a good thing is the fact it has a really good soundtrack. It's probably my second favourite thing about this movie, after Dakota Johnson's hilarious turn as Ana.

The sex scenes? I've seen worse on GoT
I can't review Fifty Shades without talking about the sex, this is something that has to happen. I have to admit to feeling really bad for any fans of the book going in to see this movie, they must have been quite disappointed. You probably see more graphic sex scenes in a fifty minute episode of Game of Thrones than you do in this 2 hour long film. It's very light on the sex, and what sex there is  is very tame compared to what you see in the books. And it's all very tastefully done and pretty tame for a film that's supposed to be exploring a dom/sub relationship.

Not only will you laugh at the intentionally funny lines that come out of Anas mouth, you'll also be laughing at all the total cringe worthy moments and cheesy moments. From scenes where Ana leaves a meeting with Christian and seems to basically orgasm in the rain to the fact that you'll lose count of how many times Ana bites her lip. You might be like me and get rather bored by the 1hr 10min mark, but at least you'll find yourself laughing quite a bit at just how ridiculous the movie is.

But now is the part where I get to the issue that I really feel I need to discuss when it comes to this movie. I am part of a Colleen Hoover group on Facebook - because CH is an auto-buy author for me and I love her - and I'd seen so many people talking about all the crap they were getting for wanting to see this film. Now not just in a 'Oh my god, why would you want to watch that trash?' kind of way, which was kind of how I was judging most people who were willing to pay to go see it in the cinema. Nope, they were getting actual threatening emails and messages from people, they were being told that they were supporting rape and domestic violence by going to see this movie. SERIOUSLY?!? Are you kidding me? I can sum up my feelings for this with one gif:



I think this may actually be one of the stupidest things that I have ever heard people say before, and that's saying a lot. These comments and emails were coming from people who hadn't even seen the movie. Some of them might not have even read the books. And whilst I feel they have the right to say that in terms of the vomit inducing books and the stuff I had to read in those, I really feel they shouldn't be saying that without seeing the movie first. I have seen the film and can tell you that that's one of the most insulting things I have ever heard. Not for this movie, which deserves all the luke warm reviews it's getting, but for people who have actually been victims of rape. The movie portrays a consensual sexual relationship between two people, so how can someone ever actually try to compare that to someone being raped. The two are vastly different things!

To anyone comparing it to rape.
And this is really where I wanted to ask you guys where you stood on this whole thing. Have you seen the movie and did you think it was the same as rape? I'm going to go into a little more detail here because in my first draft I really didn't. Sorry, but it was 2am by the time I finished, I needed sleep and was knackered. Would your judgements on the movie and anyone seeing it be based solely on the books? Or what you've heard/read about them? I am not saying that the relationship that Ana and Christian have in this film is normal or healthy. It isn't/ Christian is not wrong when he says that he's a fucked up individual, he really is. But the relationship in the movie is always consensual. CONSENSUAL! So, please, for the love of all that is holy, do not try comparing it to rape and telling people who want to see it that they support rape. That's a rather twisted thing to say to someone and not true in terms of the film. The way the sub/dom relationship is portrayed in the movie is still not entirely accurate of a BDSM relationship, but it's a hell of a lot closer than the book. I used to work with a guy who would only have those types of relationships, but he would be the sub whilst the women in his life were always the dom. Now he'd talk to a lot of us about it and the things he liked being done to him will never seem normal to me. But they were to him and he enjoyed it. That's his prerogative and it's not up to me to tell someone how they should be conducting their relationship. If you get off on someone spanking you till you bleed then go for it, I'll never understand the appeal myself but such is life. That's not to say that movie Christian Grey isn't still a creepy stalker because he so is. Their relationships is not normal or healthy and I'm still 110% certain Ana is insane for even wanting to be in a relationship with him. But I'm also 110% sure that Christian is not a rapist - well, at least as far as the movies concerned. Book Christian was a total rapist... just to be clear on that point.

4/10 Butterflies

Like I have said already, this wasn't the worst movie that I have ever seen but it most definitely wasn't the best. I'm not even sure it could be described as good. But I was suitably entertained and think they did a great job when you consider the source material. I absolutely loved Johnson as Ana, she brought much needed humour to the story as well as finally given Ana a back bone and the ability to stick up for herself. She was a much stronger character in the film than she ever was in the movie. Sam Taylor-Johnson definitely brings a lot to this film, which is why it disappoints me that she won't be doing the sequel. But, in all honesty, her talent is kind of wasted on this kind of movie. This isn't a movie that I would ever recommend to someone, but if you want to see it then by all means do. I was suitably entertained and it has me thinking that I will now actually see the sequel. Partly out of curiosity to see if they continue making the changes or start to follow the book a lot more. I HOPE NOT! I really wanted to hate this movie as much as I hated the book, but I just couldn't. They made big changes and made sure that consent was something that was emphasised, something that never was in the books. 

12 comments:

  1. Glad it wasn't the worst movie of all time but I will still be passing on this. ;)
    Great review though!! :D

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    1. It's probably for the best, it's not really something that I was desperate to see. I just had the chance and thought I'd give it a go. I was kind of looking forward to having the chance to do a ranty review, but then it was so different to the book that I couldn't say I absolutely hated it because I'd be lying.

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  2. Not that I would ever be a person to start raging on someone for wanting to see a movie, because people can do whatever they like, I do think Fifty Shades is very much abusive and rapey. If you research, you'll also see NUMEROUS victims of abuse and rape talking about how appalled they are by the books and the movie. Even victims who haven't read the books and have just seen the movie. It's literally everywhere and I've come across too many articles to count of abusive victims who see their own past relationships mirrored in Fifty Shades. So there's no need to try and defend that argument to abusive victims, because so many of them are the ones making the argument.

    Let's be clear here: sub/dom relationships are not abuse. But let's also be clear: what EL portrays is NOT a sub/dom relationship. Again, you can read online about BDSM folks talking about what a travesty her portrayal of sub/dom is. If you do your research it's easy enough and, again, they are so many articles and discussions with BDSM people getting angry at how an abusive relationship hides behind BDSM. Sub/dom relationships are built on trust and care. They have VERY clear boundaries and aftercare is a huge thing. All of which Christian neglects. Also, EL acts like BDSM relationships can only be wanted by victims of abuse (it's stated/implied numerous times that Christian is only the way he is because of his childhood). Which is just not true and kind of spits on BDSM as a healthy form of sexual expression.

    Also, about the abuse/rape thing in general, I'm just going to pick out some key points here: Christian STALKS Ana after barely knowing her. She drunk dials him and so he traces her phone. Like a psycho. He makes it clear on numerous occasions he can always trace her phone and know where she is. Then not only does he not take this drunk girl home, but he takes her back to his place and proceeds to undress her and change her clothes while she is unconscious.

    He dictates which friends she can and can't speak to, tells her she can't talk about her relationship with him to anyone (thereby isolating her) and gets angry when she arranges to go see her mother in another state because she 'belongs to him' and didn't ask him permission or some BS.

    He sells her car without her permission, something she has said she LOVES on numerous occasions, to buy her a car that HE thinks is more acceptable. He also buys the company she works at, chastises her for not taking his surname once they're married and then eventually bullies her to do so, and talks repeatedly about the need to visit his businesses to keep the women 'in check'.

    He is emotionally abusive and manipulative in the way he's constantly pushing her away and making her feel awful, then falling asleep with her (dangling the 'love'), then saying he can't do this and can't do that. Blah blah.

    When she says she doesn't enjoy spanking he proceeds to do it anyway. When she's brought to tears by it, he still seems to get some sort of enjoyment. It's clear she's very uncomfortable and yet he tells her to basically deal with it because it makes him happy.

    Then there's the scene where he shows up at her apartment in the middle of the night after she breaks it off (jokingly or not) and proceeds to have sex with her. DIRECT lines from the book have her saying 'no' and trying to 'kick him off'. He then says something like 'if you scream I'll gag you and if you try to fight I'll tie you up' or something similar. I mean, SERIOUSLY. And then afterwards she tells him it was 'nice'. Which totally supports the whole 'you know you want it babe' attitude some men seem to have.

    Now, like I said, I'm not going to insult people for wanting to see a movie. People can do what they like. But I think it's actually kind of insulting for you to call people stupid and say they're idiots for having a different view than you.

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    1. It probably wasn't the best idea to start writing this last night at gone midnight. Once it started ticking into the early hours of the morning I just really rushed the discussion part as I needed 1. sleep and 2. the post was already too long. I should make it very clear that this is a review of the MOVIE. Not the books. They are two separate things.

      I already stated that I hated the books, for all the reasons that you have stated. Everything you have said in regards to the books and how Christian acts is true. I did not like him or agree with most of the things he did. The basically stalking her, selling her car and telling her who she can and can't be friends with is WRONG. W.R.O.N.G. But Edward Cullen buys Bella a car and makes her drive it, tells her who she can and can't see, actually breaks her car so she can't see Edward, creeps into her room at night without her knowing and stalks her too. But I don't remember there being mass protests and people receiving threats for wanting to see the movie. Even though that should also be classed as controlling. I just think it's a bit hypocritical.

      My saying people are stupid for thinking that is also just an opinion though. Not a fact. Just an opinion. And I will never change that. I am reviewing the movie NOT the book. The movie wouldn't even get 1 star from me. But it shows that the writers and the director wanted to make changes and they have, big ones. Their relationship is still not healthy but it isn't shown to be. Consent is something that they made sure was vitally important to the movie. Everything that happens is consensual. So just to be clear, she never says no. It's always asked whether it's okay, whether she wants to or not. She says yes then they do. If she says no then they don't. If it's consensual then it's not rape. And I am never going to be okay with people telling me that seeing this movie means I support rape. Knowing someone who has been raped and the effect that had on her, I can tell you that she would say there is a huge difference in someone having consensual sex with someone for both their pleasure and someone taking away all your power and choice in the matter and doing something that you don't want or ask for. I'm sorry if I insulted you, but it will always be my opinion that it's stupid to suggest consensual sex is the same as rape. It really isn't. It's not right to threaten someone for seeing this film. It's a film.

      And your comments about all the research, it's something I looked up and read up on extensively after reading the books because of how appalled I was by them. Knowing people in BDSM relationships I know how vastly different the portrayal is in the book compared to the reality. But also Christians reasons for why he says he enjoys BDSM aren't suggestive that that's the reason for everyone. But I wanted to review the film and not the books. They are two separate things to me and they make a lot of changes, in the same way you see with any adaptation.

      Again, it's all just my opinion and I'm fine with everyone having their own. But I've seen people comment ridiculous statements about people who want to see it. So I just wanted to have my say. Truly sorry if I have deeply offended you, that was never my intention. I'm just never one to shy away from giving my opinion and I'm not bothered by getting others in return, I just agree to disagree.

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  3. I've never had any interest in the books or the film and that won't change, but I do find the discussions interesting. Too many hysterical people out there are losing the plot saying that this is like rape, it will make people want to get into destructive relationships, the film goers are evil yada yada yada. If you want to read the books or watch the films for fun/entertainment you should not be made to feel bad about it. It is FICTION! It doesn't mean you support evil against women or anything like that.

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    1. I hated the books and there is so much that is wrong with them. But I just really can't have people saying that consensual sex, which is what is shown in the movie, is the same as rape. It isn't and that really offends me.

      Christians still a creeper, but he's not a rapist.

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  4. Hmm, this was a very interesting post. I don't really want to see this movie but I know I will probably end up seeing it at some sleepover or some other thing. My sisters have seen it and a few of my friends as well, who loved the book. Personally I think the fact that some of the aspects you explained are so close to Twilight would bother me. Especially as I am a huge Twilight fan. I am glad to see that Ana was able to be a character who changed in the movie and became a lot more enjoyable to watch!

    I don't think those comparisons are right to make. First off, they have never been in that situation themselves as you have already pointed out. But secondly, it simply isn't right to hate people over the internet and send threats and such. It's ridiculous. I thought people had freedom to do what they wanted without feeling too pressured by anything or anyone else around here, but it doesn't seem like it!

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    1. Well if you do I hope you aren't bored by it. It's not some amazing piece of cinema, it's more like trash cinema. But at least it has it's funny moments and isn't anywhere near as horrible as the book. But, yeah, still not good.

      I know. I will never agree with sending threats to people based on their taste in cinema.

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  5. I seen this movie just last week, and because I hated the books, I wasn't expecting much from the movie. It wasn't all that bad, but in my opinion it wasn't good either. Too be honest the only reason why I decided to watch it, is because one of my favorite songs is featured in the movie lol. (Earn It - The Weeknd.) Horrible I know. The ending is what irritated me the most. Idk, if someone asked me if they should watch it in theaters, I'd just tell them to wait for the DVD . . . maybe.

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    1. I'd tell them to wait for the DVD too. Or when they can get it on Netflix or something.

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  6. Like Colleen Hoover is an auto-buy author for you, your blog is an auto-read for me - which is why I read and commented instead of ignored, which is what I did for pretty much everyone else's FSoG blog posts (not even gonna lie, sorry blogglings) and I suspect it'll be the only one I ever comment on. I will keep it short.
    I don't see me ever reading the books or watching the film - if even just to have an opinion - so this review was definitely useful. Interesting to know that the producers changed everything wrong with the book, and your standpoint on it made sense. This film (and the book) is gonna be controversial for decades until something else comes out that shocks everyone, despite everyone still reading it on the train with the cover wrapped up in wallpaper or christmas paper or something ridiculous. Thanks for sharing, as always.

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    1. I definitely wouldn't recommend the movie. I'd only tell someone to try it if it was something they actually wanted to watch. It's not a good movie, it just wasn't as horrific as I thought.

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