‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Review Roundup: Critics Mixed On Adaptation Of E.L. James’ Erotic Romance Novel
The Fifty Shades of Grey film is finally about to hit theaters after more than a year of anticipation for the big screen adaptation of the erotic romance novel penned by E.L. James.
As in the Fifty Shades trilogy, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) is an attractive twentysomething millionaire who finds himself fixated on unassuming college student Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson). After whisking Ana away to his bachelor pad, he reveals that the only kind of relationship he’s interested in is an S&M one between a dominant and a submissive – and he wants her to be his latest submissive. The virginal Anastasia, wary at first, soon finds herself playing Christian’s sex games.
‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Reviews
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson, best known for John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy, tried to turn James’ questionable text into a decent film. While some critics felt like she succeeded at least partially – with help from performances by Dornan and Johnson – others found the movie boring, lacking the anticipated heat.
“Fifty Shades of Forgettable” might be a better title for Sam Taylor-Johnson’s interminable movie adaptation of the blockbuster novel. Certainly there’s nothing even vaguely smoldering about this limp and lifeless film.… Make no mistake, Dakota Johnson is suitably lovely as the shy Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan is appropriately chiseled as billionaire Christian Grey. Still, they generate zilch in the way of heat. The thundering lack of chemistry might be less mind-numbing if the film offered something in the way of delicious dialogue.” – Karen D’Souza, San Jose Mercury News
“I wouldn’t say that Taylor-Johnson has made a good movie from “Fifty Shades of Grey,” precisely. That’s asking too much. But she and Marcel have risen to the challenge of this bizarre cultural moment with an odd and memorable film, one that pulls elements of archetypal fable out of an incoherent gender-war Rorschach test with no plot. On its surface, the “Fifty Shades” movie is a depthless pornographic fantasy, as superficial and thunderingly empty as Christian Grey’s enormous head or the echoing halls of his apartment. Beneath that surface lies the buzzing life force we feel within Anastasia, the force of desire at war with itself.” – Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
“I’m shocked — shocked, do you hear me?!? — that the film version of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey is such a dull, decorous affair, about as erotic as an ad for Pottery Barn. Yeah, the book attracted 100 million readers in 52 languages. But the book sucked.… A few early reviews have given the film a pass because it’s not as dirty as advertised. They seem grateful. I’m disappointed. Twisted me! The true audiences for Fifty Shades of Grey are gluttons for punishment — by boredom.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Once Ana and Christian have sex for the first time, and especially after they’ve had sex for the second time, the movie starts to sag. There are too many similar scenes, in which she tries to get close, and he tries to get her to sign some contract agreeing to become his “submissive” partner in sadomasochistic sex games. Still, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t like this movie, just as I can’t pretend there’s nothing wrong with it. But try thinking of it this way: It’s an event movie that’s also a relationship drama, and that’s rare.” – Mike LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle