Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Yes, I saw the bloody movie

And yes I know I said I wasn't interested. It wasn't my fault - Jennifer Denys dragged me along. "No Jennifer, please!" I cried. "Shuddup, bitch," she told me, "or it's off the the Red Room of Pain with you."


Okay, I suppose there are some positives. I now know the plot of the book without having to wade through eight billion pages of ditzy present-tense internal monologue (a literary style I tire of particularly swiftly), inner goddesses dancing in hula skirts, and lines like this:

"In the elevator" is a new one on me...
So here goes, if anyone cares. [SPOILERS ... though, like, it's not like you're going to be surprised by anything]

For a movie aimed at women, there's an amazing amount of her naked flesh and remarkably little of his...

Okay, first of all, I'm not the target audience for this movie. That's because
  • I don't find billionaires sexy
  • I don't find BDSM scary or shocking
  • I don't find Jamie Dornan even slightly visually interesting
No, seriously. There are a number of men in the film. They are ALL better looking than the black-hole-of-charisma that is Christian Grey.
The chauffeur: definitely fuckable

Christian Grey's twink younger brother. Oh yes.
Hell, I'd do Ana's-mother's-fourth-husband in a flash!

But that's okay, I can accept that Ana finds him sexy. In fact from the second she slaps eyes on him it is so clear that she is throbbing with lust, that you can practically hear her squelch as she walks.

Dakota Johnson is pretty, perfectly-cast and acts a lot
For all the BDSM/abuse hoo-hah, this isn't actually a movie about sex. There's really not that much sex! It's a romance, in the style of made-for-TV movies, only with less plot and better cinematography. In fact, it's the slightness of the plot that's most noticeable - despite a largish cast, the only inter-character tension or conflict is between the two leads. Ana has a flatmate, who is nice. And friends, who are nice. She has a family, who are nice. Christian Grey has a family who are nice. EVERYONE IS FUCKING NICE. No drama of any sort occurs except between Ana and Christian, and that drama is hugely padded out with pretty scenery. We could have lost about forty minutes, especially of the pointless meet-the-relatives sequences (and "Oh Christ, not another scene where he takes her flying!") without it making the slightest difference to anything except my poor aching back.

All the sex is consensual. The BDSM is scrupulously consensual, with safewords and everything. Even in the final scene where Christian goes too far, it's because Ana has instructed him to. No wonder the poor ickle billionaire looks confused when she stomps off in a hissy fit.

This movie sponsored by the Acme Elevator Company

Actually, I thought the ending, with its clever reprise of an earlier scene's dialogue, was great. Possibly the best bit of the movie. But it might have just been the relief of being able to stand up and stretch my back AT LAST.

The tension between the two romantic characters is not really down to his kinkiness vs her stupifying ignorance. It's his emotional unavailability that drives her up the wall (e.g. he won't let her touch him spontaneously, whilst she is a walking bag of Feels). Christian Grey is indeed "fifty shades of fucked-up" and it's clearly not a healthy relationship, but I think - and I have read a great number of articles about how abusive he is and how bad this is for the collective psyche of women everywhere - that it is abundantly clear in the movie that he is a mess, and that he needs to overcome all this. He's a romantic icon despite his flaws, not because of them. It's that struggle and the emotional journey toward redemption that fans like.

So overall: Not nearly as bad as I feared, but a bit dull really and way too long. Nine and a Half Weeks was dirtier.


Jennifer Denys said...

HAH! Might I remind you, Janine Ashbless, that it wasn't until after I asked you to go that you remembered you weren't going to see it! LOL. I agree with all points, particularly the extremely fuckable chauffeur!! By the way... I was reading up on the sequels and it looks like the plot and the secondary characters get much grittier, even down to someone NOT liking Ana! Fancy a trip to the cinema in a couple of years time.......?

Jennifer Denys said...

I've just re read my comment and it looks like I said, "not liking ANAL." !!!! ROFLMSO

Lesley said...

The chauffeur was Hercules Hansen in Pacific Rim, that's why he's so fuckable! Because who wouldn't want to fuck a Jaeger pilot?

Remittance Girl said...

I agree. 9 1/2 weeks was far, far sexier.

Janine Ashbless said...

I read it as ANAL too, Jennifer! :-D

Janine Ashbless said...

May have to watch Pacific Rim sometime, Lesley ...

Janine Ashbless said...

Didn't 9.5 Weeks (we've gone metric) have the same ice-cube scene?

Charlie J Forrest said...

Listened to the director's commentary on Bridget Jones and at one point it mentions that a romantic comedy shouldn't be any longer than 80 minutes. They could so easily have trimmed this film down to that length and it would have been merely bad, rather than insufferably self indulgent IMHO :-)

Eloise said...