Now Playing: 50 Shades of Failure

Jackson French

Jackson French


It’s hard to imagine someone, even a fan of the book series, walking out of “Fifty Shades of Grey” satisfied. Like the books, the movie glamorizes abusive relationships, equates BDSM with mental illness and delivers a laughably inept storyline. However, every aspect of this film is toned down and drawn out, which does the unthinkable: it makes sex boring.

Obviously, people are only interested in this movie for the sex scenes. Somehow, not realizing this, director Sam Taylor-Johnson puts almost all the film’s emphasis on the paper-thin story. With the flimsiest possible justifications paving the way for every plot development, the wealthy Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) introduces Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) to female submission. 


With lifeless performances and a complete absence of chemistry, it’s hard to tell that these characters are falling in love. The acting makes the story’s weaknesses more obvious, with Dornan and Johnson awkwardly pushing the story along with cold deliveries of hammy dialogue. If you see this movie, be ready to cringe at least once a minute. 

The sex scenes only make up about fifteen minutes of this two-hour movie. Even with unbearably long stretches of nothingness between them, the kinky stuff is given the same bland treatment as everything else. Whether it’s spanking, whipping or fairly standard sex, this movie’s drab presentation robs the movie’s allegedly titillating scenes of all passion and energy.

“Fifty Shades” is also troubling because of its implication that stalking people and forcing them beyond their limits is A-ok. Taking advantage of Ana’s naivety, Christian abuses her and tries to control every aspect of her life, but is still presented as some kind of Prince Charming, rescuing her from a life of drudgery. 

“Fifty Shades of Grey” fails as a narrative and as a porn. With its weak story and reprehensible messages taking prominence, the sex that the audience wants is pushed into the background, only to disappoint every time it surfaces.