Before you ask, NO, I was not invited to any pre-screenings of Fifty Shades of Grey. Shocking I know.
Perchance it was because of my rather vocal and public expressions of doubt that while Jamie Dornan was a stand-out as the hot sheriff on season 1 of Once Upon a Time and a creepily sexy sociopath on The Fall, he was not our Christian Grey. No he was not. I won’t belabour the point. You can read my position here in my epistle, Is Jamie Dornan 50 Shades of Sexy?.
Or perhaps it was that my invitation just got lost in the mail.
Regardless of all that, two weeks ago I hopped on my trusty Cineplex app and purchased 5 reserved AVX seats in optimal locations for the very first public showing on Thursday, Feb 12, 8 pm. If I wasn’t going to be a preview watcher, I was at least going to be a first responder.
We arrived early to get our buttered popcorn. It crossed my mind that it was weird that I was about to stuff my face with greasy snacks—voyeur style—while watching Christian and Anastasia GET.IT.ON. A bit peep show for my prudish tastes. But I like popcorn, so I did it anyways.
I’ll preface my thoughts by making one thing clear. I’m an easy date when it comes to movies. I love them. And I’m pretty good about entering cinematic situations with clear expectations and an ability to appreciate things for what they are (for example, I adored the Twilight Franchise, cheese and all. And I laughed my ass off at Nacho Libre, which doesn’t say much for my intellectual capacity). I knew that this wasn’t a FILM as much as I knew that the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and its counterparts are not LITERATURE said with a snobby Oxford accent.
So I sat down in that estrogen-filled (and a few dudes hoping to get laid) theatre and a with a devil-may-care attitude, prepared to have fun and hopefully be entertained and pleasantly surprised.
And I was.
By a side view of Jamie Dornan’s man bush.
I’ve never seen that in a movie before.
I must admit, I was a little embarrassed. Isn’t that his privacy? And I’m told men groom down there these days. This was long enough to need mousse and a diffuser.
I also got to know Dakota Johnson’s pert little nips really well. Like super close up. Lord, that girl has perky breasts. She doesn’t even need a brassiere. Jealous.
Not to be left out, Dakota’s got her own powder puff down in inner goddess-land. I explained to my sister, when she pointed it out, that Ana is supposed to be a virgin who uses a FLIP PHONE and doesn’t know about bikini waxes or other vagina things. (Tangent: wondering if Dakota had to grow her hair back as part of her preparations or if they used a pube wig*).
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MOVIE?, you ask. Was it good? Or, as my husband probed the second I walked in the door, Was there lots of SEX?
There was a bit. Not necessarily enough, but some. Choreographed. Stylized. Christian wouldn’t have approved. It was a bit vanilla. With a cherry on top. Get it?
BUT WHAT ABOUT JAMIE DORNAN? WAS HE GOOD?
My sister: I didn’t read the books, but that guy was miscast.
Says it all.
I LOVE BEING RIGHT. I’M SO AWESOME.
The movie was good. It was not bad. But it lacked a certain je ne sais quois. Like tension.
My heart didn’t jump. I didn’t quake in my panties. I didn’t lean forward in my seat, holding my breath. I wanted to so badly. I tried.
But I just liked it. No more. And happily, no less.
Back to the finer points. Jamie Dornan is a real cutie. His abs are stellar and his butt a masterpiece. And he did a good job. But it was as I suspected. He’s not intense enough. He’s not commanding. He doesn’t ooze power or sex or whatever it is that gets Ana so hot for his boner. There’s just no invisible chemistry forcing them to be together (You know what I’m talking about. Those scenes in movies where you’re breathing with the characters? That you’re willing them to kiss and then you’re kissing with them? ABSENT. IN TOTO).
And that’s really where the movie falters. Because the success of the books, what engages us, notwithstanding E.L. James’ love of repetition, cliches, and ridiculous catch-phrases, is this incredible PULL between Anastasia and Christian.
Too bad so sad. When Jamie Dornan utters, with apparent conviction, I want to fuck you till next tuesday, we want to laugh. The line is delivered in lower case letters. No thank you SIR, we don’t believe you do.
Dakota Johnson and her perfect bum (a stunt double was used for the ass-whooping scenes FYI because, and I paraphrase, she didn’t want to get her bum smacked) was a revelation. Stellar. Glowing. Perfection. From the tips of her nerdy flats to the top of her juicy bitten-lip countenance. She’s funny, she’s playful, she’s seductive and sad and understatedly sexy. She knows how to work that stare and say a lot without saying anything at all. And she fakes her Os real good. Pant pant pant SIGH.
The appendages—cars, apartments, the RED ROOM of PAIN are as we imagined them. Rich, luxurious, appealing. They just don’t seem to belong to this Christian Grey. And sadly, the supporting character are all afterthoughts, their talents wasted on veritable walk-ons. But really, who cares. We’re there for the Christian and Anastasia Saga anyways.
Should you see Fifty Shades of Grey? Well, to be honest, that’s really up to you. I would. But then again, I already did. And I’m already lining up for the sequel. Maybe I’ll rate preview tickets by then.
Filthy factor: Nothing a little elbow grease won’t get out.
Post publishing note: Thank god the tampon scene was omitted. That was probably THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I’VE EVER READ.
*Post publishing correction: according to my friend Matthew, pube wigs are called merkins. Since I’m an innocent, I wouldn’t know that. Also, why would they even make pube wigs? What are those used for?
POST PUBLISHING NOTE: I forgot to mention Jamie’s Irish accent and how it plays peek-a-boo throughout the film. Have they never heard of hiring an accent coach? Really? Bad