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Fifty Shades of Grey (2/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 122 minutes.

Not for children.

Except for the nudity, there’s nothing in this film worth seeing. My “all media” audience was not all media because they let normal civilians in. I estimate it was 75-25 media and the same ratio of women to men, if not a higher percentage of women. There was laughter throughout the film from women, and it didn’t seem to me that it was anything other than derogatory, mostly when Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) uttered one of his ridiculous lines.

As to the cast, except for Dakota Johnson in the title role of Anastasia Steele, who looks pretty much like a real, ordinary person, everyone else looks like an actor from central casting, especially Dakota’s girlfriend, Eloise Mumford. Not beautiful, she still has a look that’s unique. But all the people in the cast had that “I’m a Hollywood actor!” look to me. The worst casting was Dornan as Grey. Maybe he’s a hottie to women, but as a billionaire entrepreneur, he doesn’t even come close. And his acting, well, he’s in Channing Tatum’s league. He looks more like a teenager playing a game than a captain of industry. He must have been cast for his buff physique.

The frivolous book titillated a lot of women, but it’s unlikely the movie will make them orgasmic.

For the uninitiated, Anastasia is a mousy young college woman who interviews Grey. He recruits her to be his sex slave and introducers her to his private room with a lot of sadomasochism machines and implements while she, in turn, falls in love. In the book, Anastasia tells the story in the first person, which is a lot more revealing than seeing it on the screen because it exposes much more of her thinking and reactions.

Johnson does a lot of heavy breathing, moaning, and groaning, although it’s hard to determine what’s causing it. That led me to visualize a director wearing plus fours with a megaphone standing next to her out of camera range, yelling, “Moan!” and “Groan!” As to the nudity, it’s mostly limited to Johnson’s bare breasts (lots of shots of those) and both of their bums.

One friend said she was looking forward to seeing this in the hopes that she would learn something. Nobody’s going to learn anything from this film.

The idea of sitting through two sequels (the book was first of a trilogy) is almost more than one can bear.