Genre: Thriller
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Cast: Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Jennifer Ehle, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Max Martini, Eloise Mumford, Dylan Neal, Rita Ora, Victor Rasuk, Callum Keith Rennie
RunTime: 2 hrs 6 mins
Rating: R21 (Mature Theme and Sexual Scenes)
Released By: UIP
Official Website:

Opening Day: 12 February 2015

Synopsis: Fifty Shades of Grey is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has been translated into 51 languages worldwide and sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever. Stepping into the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, who have become iconic to millions of readers, are Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. Joining Dornan and Johnson in the cast are Luke Grimes as Elliot, Christian’s brother; Victor Rasuk as José, Anastasia’s close friend; Eloise Mumford as Kate, Anastasia’s best friend and roommate; Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian’s mother; Rita Ora as Mia, Christian’s sister; Max Martini as Taylor, Christian’s bodyguard; Callum Keith Rennie as Ray, Anastasia’s stepfather; Jennifer Ehle as Carla, Anastasia’s mother; and Dylan Neal as Bob, Carla’s husband.

Movie Review:

If you’re reading this online review of the highly anticipated movie based on E L James’ wildly popular bestselling novel, it is highly likely you’ve done quite a bit of research on the worldwide web on what to expect the cinema hall becomes pitch black.

You may have heard how Madonna thinks the book is “not very sexy” (the Material Girl wrote “The Book On Sex” after all), or how the movie about a college graduate who begins a sadomasochistic relationship with a dashing young businessman is getting flak from activists for its theme. You must also have read the countless tongue in cheek reviews that have been trending the Internet since the movie opened worldwide to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

And oh, something closer to home has to be how the 126 minute film is left uncut by our friends from the regulation board. Ah, we have been liberated! This is the point where you ask yourself, for such a cash cow, how far would the filmmakers to push the boundaries? Not much, this reviewer thinks.

Sure, there are blindfolds, whips and chains in this sexual relationship based on domination and submission, but did you really think a Hollywoodproduction like this would step into pornographic territories? Judging from the promising box office takings we have heard so far, you wouldn’t expect the movie studio to give up the chance to produce the money making sequels that would be Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. James’ trilogy in print form is a runaway success that has sold 100 million books worldwide, mind you.

And so, despite the much touted 20 odd minutes of sex scenes in this movie directed by Sam Taylor Johnson, everything is actually neatly packaged into a commercial product that will make big bucks at the box office. The story is “blah” at best – Dakota Johnson’s Anastasia Steele meets a mysteriously handsome business magnate Christian Grey (played by a rather bland Jamie Dornan), and the two begin a love story that is drearily tiresome. The girl surrenders to the dude’s requests (hey, if you have a man with a bod like that, wouldn’t you be tempted as well?), and begins to realise that he has some dark and maybe tragic secrets. He is someone who obviously needs therapy, and if you haven’t read the books already, we shall find out how he seeks redemption with the two sequels that follow.  

Johnson does not surprise with her portrayal with a somewhat irksome character, and Dornan, while being equipped with good looks, does not leave an impression. What’s left is a alluring soundtrack with tunes performed by artistes like Sia and Ellie Goulding. These point to the fact that this is a commercial piece of work – oh, did we mention that jealousy inducing products featured in the movie?

Just as we thought we got the Twilight franchise out of the way, along comes this feeble attempt to explore a dominant submissive relationship. That said, there’s still no stopping the movie from bringing home the cash. Like you, this writer was dead curious to check out the hype. One conclusion he derived once the credits started rolling though (apologies to anyone who may take this as a sexist remark) – this movie is Twilight with sex, and a chick flick through and through. 

Movie Rating:

(And why would people flock to the cinemas to see this movie? Because sex sells.)

Review by John Li

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