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Review: “Fifty Shades of Grey” is an Arousing Adaptation that May Only Pleasure the Readers

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey

Bondage, Flogging, and Spanking, these are a few of Christian Grey’s favorite things.  But when Anastasia Steele comes into his life, his particular routine in sexual activities begins to fluctuate.

Those who have read Fifty Shades of Grey have anxiously been waiting to see Christian and Ana’s story come to life on the big screen.  Though readers anticipate the film, they also worry about how the “movie version” of their beloved tale will stay true to the book.  In this case, fans are concerned with the casting, the chemistry, and just how graphic the sex scenes are going to be.  E. L. James’ best-selling novel did an incredible job at describing a hot, titillating romance, which originated from a Twilight fan fiction series.  Well you can be rest assured that the film exudes enough heat to warm up your entire theater.

Both Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, who play Christian and Ana, have great chemistry.  Their instant attraction to each other is believable, and the relationship never feels forced.  These two characters meet all thanks to fate.  When her best friend, Kate (Eloise Mumford), gets the flu, Ana fills in for her journalism assignment interviewing Christian Grey, a 27-year old billionaire who is going be the guest speaker at their college graduation.  After an unforgettable and intense interview, Christian makes a few surprise appearances in Ana’s daily life, making their attraction grow stronger.  Christian quickly puts a halt to their “situation” and tells Ana to stay away from him, as he is no good for her.  That break lasts about all of two seconds.  Ana gets drunk and calls Christian to tell him off.  He comes and saves her from the drunken state she’s in.  The next morning the two share a passionate kiss in an elevator.

You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Ana should be relishing in that fact that she has just found her dream man.  Christian is handsome, charming, and rich.  The only problem is, this young billionaire has got a dark past and can only be in a dominant/submissive relationship.  So while Ana hopes to have the normal dinner and movie dates, all Christian can think about is whipping her in his “playroom.”

As for the sex scenes, director Sam Taylor-Johnson plays it safe.  They are tastefully done in an effective way that shows us just how sexy and twisted Christian is.  Nudity is limited to topless and butt shots.  Sorry ladies, don’t expect to see Christian full frontal.

Unfortunately since Dornan’s role is meant to be controlling and lack emotion, he comes off stiff.  It is Johnson who shines and gives a break out performance as Anastasia Steele, giving an at times irritating character humor and likability.

Here’s the thing.  As a fan of the book, I was enthralled by this film.  They cut out all the bad parts of the book and focused on the emotional struggle of the couple’s relationship. However, I find some of my fellow critics to be warranted in their negative reviews.  The plot of the story is thin and a tad redundant.  Ultimately, we’re watching a girl date a guy that she’s hoping will change for her.  It is an interesting character study, especially on the troubled Christian Grey, who can’t seem to let anyone in.  That just may not be enough for the regular movie-goer.

If you go into Fifty Shades of Grey with an open mind and have fun with the story, then there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the movie.  Given that there is an added kink to this romance, that aspect of the film is something different to look forward to.   And for the fellas who are being forced to watch, I’m sure you will be rewarded with plenty of enjoyment after the film is over.

RATING: 3/5

Fifty Shades of Grey opens in theaters tonight at 8pm.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” Official Trailer HD

 

Movie Review/Interview: “If I Stay”- An Adolescent Romantic Tear-Jerker

It’s no surprise that big studio production companies are quickly grabbing hold of the rights to as many young adult novels as they can.  The fan base is already there.  Give them a “best-seller” and a good looking lead, and you may just have the next Twilight or The Fault in Our Stars.

Tweens are thirsting for romance that they can live vicariously through, and Chloe Grace Moretz’s latest drama will quench every young girl’s desire.

If I Stay is an adaptation of Gayle Forman’s 2009 best-seller.  The film centers on Mia Hall (Moretz), a straight-lace, gifted cellist who lives in Oregon with her ultra-hip parents, Kat (Mireille Enos) and Denny (Joshua Leonard), and her little brother, Teddy (Jakob Davies).  One day while Mia is practicing in school, Adam (Jamie Blackley), an up-and-coming rock star, passes by and it’s love at first listen.  Be warned now, if you’re in theater with any teenage girls, Adam will cause swooning and sighing.  The two go through a jagged relationship, proving that classical and rock doesn’t make for a smooth mix.

Priorities shift for Mia when she is invited to audition for Julliard but, her music and Adam become the least of her worries after a horrific car accident has caused her to fall into a coma. Anxious to know the fate of the rest of her family, Mia has an out of body experience. Her spirit roams the hospital halls and she eavesdrops on her loved ones as they try to cope and pray for her to make it through surgery.  As her future begins to be uncertain, Mia is faced with a choice.  She must decide if the life she’s waking up to is one worth living.

Call me a cheesy romantic, but I enjoyed this film.  I am fully aware the one liners, “I see you,” and “why me?” will have plenty of people rolling their eyes.  But there are certain qualities in a teenybopper romance that can always salvage the movie.  The key element is your lead.  Chloe Grace Moretz is a thriving young talent, and since I first saw her in 500 Days of Summer, she has only flourished in her career.  Whether it’s a success like Kick-Ass or a flop like Carrie, Moretz masterfully performs in all of her projects.

Of course, what’s love without believability?  Moretz and Blackley’s chemistry is hardly that of comparison to Hazel and Gus (The Fault in Our Stars), but it translates well here.  Mia and Adam’s relationship isn’t forced, we get to watch them grow as a couple and care for their story, a missing quality from many recent love stories.

There is more to If I Stay than just the romance.  The film also touches on how some people in your life don’t necessarily need to be blood related to be your family.  If I Stay may pull at your heartstrings and shed some tears, but think of this film as more of a “doesn’t-hurt-to-see” versus a “must-see.”

Rating: 3/5

“If I Stay” Interview with Chloe Grace Moretz & Gayle Forman

chloe and gayle