Note: This is a review of the movie, ultimately I am giving it a thumbs-down.
I’ve read all 3 books ages ago, and found the books a bizarre interplay nowhere near any real-world examples of consensual kink or BDSM. Granted, I consider them “romance novels” and can be put alongside any of the same genre fluff, I don’t expect them to be literary epic novels, they are somewhat erotic fiction, not a documentary or classroom material.
It was obvious this author has no idea what normal sexual relations between two sane human beings are. At the time they were written, she herself was inexperienced in bed and had no real training in B/D, D/S, S/M other than what she may have picked up at random from various sources (most likely retail outlets or porn industry, again no basis in actual BDSM).
Not that it is supposed to be educational or accurate, though the average naive reader or movie-goer may not realize how far off the mark it is.
Back to the movie review though…
We never get to to revel in Anastasia’s role as submissive, since there is barely any trust developed and she never lets herself go. Red flags are set ablaze regarding their contract, one because she is so inexperienced to begin with, she doesn’t know herself, her tastes or her limits, and clearly wants something other than what Grey is offering her — a Dom would have recognized this earlier on and said “No, this isn’t going to work out” or perhaps just play the friend card and move on.
The movie’s Christian Grey is portrayed a stalker/douchebag, setting a poor example of what a dominant would be — call the cops on this jerk, clearly he has rage issues nowhere suitable in a D/S relationship!
Thus, instead of fixing the book’s issues by adding intelligent narration or extra explanatory dialogue between characters, the movie stumbles through codependent relations between a creepy sadist and a frumpy gal who asks to be beaten in exchange for ignominiously tormenting him afterwards.
Perhaps it would be better labeled a psychological horror film?
The soundtrack was nice, the trailer and promotional photo-shoots hint at something far more sensual and steamy than the film ends up being, which IMHO was just a yawn. A few short fuck scenes though nothing that entertaining. If it was a slideshow of the photos with the soundtrack running in the background, it would have been a better flick.
In summary, what could have been a romantic “coming of age” story results in a train wreck of two ingenuous sociopaths.
I left wondering which part of the duo was more the monster — and who the protagonist would be — since I found both equally disturbing.
There are plenty of better fetish films out there, namely 1975’s book-into-film of “The Story of O”, the more recent comedic romp from 2002 “Secretary” or the more obscure indie film “The Pet” from 2006 all come to mind 🙂
Even after all of that, I do hope Hollywood comes back with a sequel and fixes the issues our initial book-into-film has left us with, that and I shouldn’t take the movie so seriously — the only thing that gives me pause is that there are naive and as wildly inexperienced people as Grey and Steele were, who might end up hurting themselves or others trying to re-enact scenes from the movie, a thought I likely share with anyone familiar with B/D, D/S, S/M relations..
’nuff said. At least it gets people talking, and for its faults, may open people to the idea of the existence of things beyond vanilla missionary sex, as fucked up as the film was.