I definitely judge a book by its cover. I can’t help it. So when I saw 50 Shades of Grey in Waterstones right before a beach holiday, I grabbed it straight away. I liked the cover and I like the colour Grey.
I grabbed two copies in fact – One for me, and one for my friend who was away travelling at the time. I popped it in the post to her completely oblivious to the nature of the literary enlightening I was dishing out! I remember her texting me, I think the message read something along the lines of –
‘Hi there, Thanks for the gift. I’m reading your book – You dirty b****!’ … I like to think it enhanced her travels a little.
But you see – this was long before they hype swept the country, and in honesty, I didn’t quite realise how explicit it was going to be. I had quite a surprise when I hit the first sex scene … and I was like ‘Holy Sh**, It’s one of those books’! I remember feeling myself go a little red in the cheeks, slightly embarrassed by the fictional novel that I. COULD. NOT. PUT. DOWN!!!
I immediately set to spreading the word amongst my friends in the village and before long, I think every second house in our little hamlet was leafing through it (courtesy of yours truly!) Of course everyone had to give it a whirl – It was the Zeitgeist and everyone was super intrigued. Sure, it was no Tess of the d’Urbervilles, but for me to be honest, when it comes to holiday reading – A little light trash sometimes goes down just as well as a literary masterpiece.
Anyhow, fast forward a few years to the release of the film and in truth I couldn’t remember much about the book. I read lots of bad film reviews and probably would have waited for it to come to Sky TV to see, but since my friend suggested we all go and watch it for her birthday I thought why not.
I went in will very low expectations.
… But you know what? I totally LOVED it. We all did; all 10 of us!
I know some of it is corny, and unrealistic but that’s the great thing about fiction. It’s not real, and it needn’t try to be if the author feels so inclined. It’s a story: A piece of fantasy … so if you want to go and see it – just move past the smaller details and immerse in the story for what it is.
(Who cares if Anastasia Steel was able to park without issue in the City Of Seattle? Who gives a monkeys how Mr Grey amassed his fortune? I don’t care one iota and I suggest you don’t give it a second thought either!)
I would imagine that if you are someone who can’t move past such ‘unlikely scenario’ details, then this won’t be the film for you (But then I suspect largely that the book wouldn’t have been your cup-of-tea anyway so don’t sweat it, and and give it a miss)
In my mind there is little point in people ripping the films plot to pieces – It’s a book adaptation, short of re-writing the whole story, it simply is what it is and I think they makers of the film did a great job with what they had to work with.
I think the sex narrative throughout was tastefully done, and actually quite tame (perhaps one of the reasons for such disappointed reviews?)
The love story throughout was sweet, tender and well-acted – And un-like some peoples’ views on the nature of its ‘sub/dom’ plot – to me – it wasn’t in the least bit abusive as some feminists have suggested it might be.
In this film – It’s the female lead character that clearly has all the power anyway – Little Miss Anastasia Steel has Super-rich and floored Christian Grey wrapped around her little finger the whole way through. I think the clever portrayal of that is all down to Good acting (yes, yes they had to deliver some corny old lines but again – That’s simply the way of the book so don’t shoot the messenger and all that) and also a great Director – Sam Taylor-Johnson does a superb job of ensuring its female lead character never once appears victimised … It’s almost as if she purposefully turned the tables of the usual stereotypes of lead female roles in Hollywood. Very clever, and actually, refreshing to see. To me the irony was quite clear – The submissive woman had all the power in this story.
“ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks …” Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d’Urbervilles
I GIVE IT 8/10. It was a great night, with a great bunch of gals!
(Now I can’t wait to see the second film!)