Monday, February 16, 2015
By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor
I didn't read all three of E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey novels - I listened to them. These books on tape were the highlight of my day while working for a mortgage company doing tedious, monotonous, brain numbing data entry. No sooner did I finish Fifty Shades, I ordered up Fifty Shades Darker, followed by Fifty Shades Freed. It was a period of time when I needed a heavy dose of escapism and obviously, I wasn't alone! If you were one of the millions of women around the world who indulged in this guilty pleasure, then I think you'll agree with me that Fifty Shades of Grey the movie is very satisfying.
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I felt like I was reliving every single chapter - Christian's office and secretaries were spot on, as well as Anna's dowdy, preppy clothes and gauche mannerism during the interview/meeting moment. Kate (Eloise Mumford), Anna's roommate, couldn't have come any closer to how I pictured her. I realize a hardware store is pretty much like any other hardware store, but I swear this store was the exact one I conjured during my listening pleasure. Christian's sleek, palatial condo and ESPECIALLY the Red Room - on point, down to the last detail. Speaking of the last detail, after all the speculation, chatter, upset and anticipation of whether or not Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson would embody these characters... well, if you think two other actors could bring to life Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele any better than these two, than I just can't talk to you (joking). But really, for me, the movie is the book through and through, as if someone added pictures to my audio.
Where Kelly Marcel's screenplay deftly differs from the book is in the cutting room, no that's not part of the BDSM. I mean she really tightened up the dialogue and cut down on the overload of texts and emails. She made Anna sound smarter and less taxing; in the book she asks too many damn questions. This Anna is a little more defiant, a lot more fun, and Dakota's eyes, fringed with sooty lashes, are mesmerizing. I also like that she doesn't overly protest to Christian's gifts of the 1st edition "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", laptop and sweet ride. In the book, she stupidly keeps trying to give the stuff back! In terms of Christian, the screenplay differs in that he's not always trying to make Anna eat; he's not as fanatical about the no touching rule; and he's possessive of her within reason.
The sex scenes - Yes, they're hot! Dornan and Johnson have great chemistry. And whether it be in Christian's bedroom, Anna's apartment, or the "play room", female director, Sam Taylor-Johnson has an eye for this sorta thing; good angles, not exactly art house, but the scenes are beautifully shot - toes curling, bare behinds, puckered nipples, smoldering looks... Of course, seeing as the movie is not rated X, you're not gonna be as turned on, as reading the novel. Can't you just picture me at work, listening and squirming in my seat - "Oh My!"
POST UPDATE 2/18/15
As you've read, my look at Fifty Shades is about how much I enjoyed the books and movie as a guilty pleasure; but like many reviewers and a lot of viewers, I too scoffed at its prosaic tones and thought of it all as icing. Then my friend Diane pointed out to me that in terms of themes, EL James wrote a classic romantic tale of a wounded man and innocent woman meeting and falling in love, not unlike many such stories in literature - Jane Eyre for instance. Her words and a second screening of the movie opened my eyes to see past the icing to the cake. These two people want each other, but need different things, therefore the movie explores matters of trust and letting one's guard down, on both sides. Why isn't that enough for the movie to be about? The light BDSM and the over the top romantic gestures are engaging and endearing ways to narrate this "Rochester" and this "Jane" finding their way.
T &T's LAMB Score: 5 outta 5
While You're Here
Here's a repost of my original book review of the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy: Many news magazine pieces on 50 Shades, condemn the book for having an older man seduce a virgin and introduce her to a dark, sinfully sexy world. First of all, Christian is 27 to Anna's 22. Secondly, no matter how erotically written the sex scenes - and I've gotta give it to E.L. for her wonderfully descriptive language when it comes to these passages - It's still not dark. It's not intense or brooding or sad or scary or edgy or sick and depraved. It's just romantic rubbish and kinda stupid, but really delicious! READ MORE
2x seeing @FiftyShades - classic romantic themes, like a naked Beauty #DakotaJohnson & The Beast @JamieDornan @50Latersbaby
— Tinsel & Tine (@tinseltine) February 18, 2015
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog