Photo from 5startracks.com.
By Abby Del Vecchio
As soon as the screen went dark, the crowd burst with emotion.
“What? Is that how it ends?” one audience member said.
“He is a sicko,” said another.
The film centers around 21-year-old college student, Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, who meets a young CEO, Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan. Ana becomes enamored with the mystery that is Christian Grey and soon finds herself in the middle of a contract-abiding relationship with him. The catch is that it is not the average relationship that Ana imagined.
“I don’t do romance,” Christian tells Ana. “My tastes are very singular.”
The tastes he is referring to are BDSM, a variety of erotic practices involving dominance and submission. Christian is a dominant and wants Ana to be his submissive.
The film is as good as one would expect an erotic novel-turned-movie to be. The acting is average, but so is the plot. There is only so much an actor can do with a not-so-great script.
Johnson is the better actor of the two leads, but that might be because she had better lines and showed emotion, rather than the cold-as-steel Christian. It could also be because you see Ana’s growth throughout the film. At the beginning, Ana is timid and quiet, which could possibly be the reason for Christian’s thought process behind her being his submissive. Once she gets to know him, Ana becomes sarcastic and witty, making jokes at the expense of Christian wholeheartedly. At every lighthearted joke made by Johnson, the audience would laugh.
Dornan does the best he can with Christian, but seeing how his character is cold and off-putting, he does not say much. Put an actress not as likable as Johnson next to Dornan, and the film would be nothing but sex.
But that is what the film is essentially about. Yes, it is a love story between an unlikely pair, but when it comes down to it, sex is the storyline.
Ana is a virgin before Christian, barely having kissed a boy, before she enters Christian’s world of floggers, genital clamps and handcuffs.
Fans and critics of the book questioned how this could even be made into a movie since nearly every other page is a sex scene. The director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, does a pretty good job bringing the almost-porn to life without making the audience feel as if they are watching one.
The sex scenes are brief, with quick cuts of a breast, toes-curling, condom wrappers, even pubic hair. Once the couple starts getting into it, the scene changes, leaving the audience either relieved or wanting more.
The sex scenes are also dramatic. Johnson is constantly gasping and panting while Beyoncé plays in the background. It is in these scenes that we see the real Christian — the controlling, dominant, sadistic Christian.
The film ends with Ana desperately trying to understand Christian, even stepping beyond her limits to do so. The film ends abruptly after, leaving audience members baffled and confused.
Those who know there are two books after “50 Shades of Grey” know this is not the end of Ana and Christian. Whether they want to see what happens next or not is another story.
In the end, the film is exactly what an erotic novel-turned-movie could be: an adequate film. The plot isn’t mesmerizing and the acting isn’t great, but those looking to see it already knew that. Behind the sex scenes is a love story, buried pretty deep down, but it is there. The next two books of the trilogy, “50 Shades Darker” and “50 Shades Freed,” will divulge deeper into the romance that is Christian and Ana. Until then, audience members can watch Ana and Christian on Valentine’s Day, or go to a regular romance movie like everyone else.