Fifty Shades of Grey | 2015 | 2 hours 9 minutes | Dir. Sam Taylor- Johnson | Universal
50 Shades of Grey is proof that you don’t need an original idea to make a million dollars.
50 Shades of Grey began as a Twilight fanfic by British author E.L. James. Instead of vampirism, James’ hero has superpowers like Enough Money To Buy Anything In The World.
Many years and a book deal later, 50 Shades of Grey is still Twilight. Both take place in Seattle. Anastasia/ Bella has a puny admirer. Christian/ Edward saves her from a car/ bike accident. Christian/ Edward has the same control freak tendencies, creepy stares, and mommy issues. Bella/ Anna’s mom is a hopeless romantic. Bella/ Anna’s dad is a wonderful guy. Edward/Christian has a hot/spunky sister who takes a liking to Bella/Anna. Edward/ Christian likes to sort out his thoughts at the piano. It lifts dialogue like “I don’t trust myself around you”. 50 Shades of Grey even references some of Stephanie Meyer’s favorite authors, like Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. The parallels are endless.
This movie is Twilight. But with sex.
Sex sets 50 Shades of Grey apart from Twilight. In the book, E.L. James has some pretty creative sexual ideas. None of the particularly unique ones make it to the movie. Don’t worry, though. 50 Shades has plenty sex and nudity. So much, in fact, that Dakota Johnson’s boobies feel like a moot point by the end. Still, fans of the book’s more original scenes might leave unsatisfied. I feel it bears mentioning that in 2013, an adult movie company made a faithful adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey, but Universal sued them. For a while, the company argued that 50 Shades was already a copyright infringement of Twilight. I totally see their point.
Despite the the horny source material, director Sam Taylor- Johnson elevates 50 Shades to a legit romance. Even though the movie has a hilariously inappropriate score and all the “college students” look like biker moms, 50 Shades is nice. It has nice cinematography. It uses colors beautifully. Dakota Johnson is subtle and assertive without acting whiny and constipated (a la Kristin Stewart). The guy who “doesn’t do romance” takes Anna on the gamut of flashy Bachelor dates. This movie features two awesome songs, “Earned It” by The Weeknd and “Love My Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding. Those songs are totally wasted on travel scenes, but they’re there. 50 Shades is a stupidly unbelievable erotic fantasy with a classy filter.
At the end of the day, 50 Shades is a fantasy based on a fantasy. Guys like Christian Grey and Edward Cullen do not exist. They do not fall in madly in love with homely girls after five minutes. Journalists don’t ask rich and powerful men if they’re gay. And a third party can’t legally sell your car without your permission. Thank God we don’t live in this world.
If you liked 50 Shades of Grey, thank Stephanie Meyer.