50 Shades of Yawn
The most anti-climactic film ever, this pastiche of sensuality must surely be a reflection on a generation given to vicarious rather than physical pleasures.
The story line, such as it is, is merely a vehicle to explore perennially titillating topics of bondage and spanking, none of which are novel. The novelty, if one could call it that, is the clumsy attempt to inject a degree of emotional attachment, all the while disclaiming its existence through the limited and often ridiculous dialogue lines between the two contracted parties: the Dominator and the Submissive.
Nor is the sex in the least bit exciting – not unless you have never ever experimented in the bedroom or had a lover quarter worth their salt. The most memorable thing, in fact, is the rather large mouth of Dakotta Johnson (she has clearly inherited this from her mother, Melanie Griffiths), quite likely the main attribute that qualified her for the role – that and others’ reluctance to be cast in what must surely be a poisoned chalice of an acting opportunity. The fake abandon she lapses into every time Dornan so much as touches her looks utterly improbable to anyone who has experienced true sexual chemistry. The kind of chemistry that sends shivers of longing down one’s spine and sears the body more than any kinky toy bought from a sex shop ever could.
The very success of this tripe of a film (I haven’t read the book which, I am told, is written for people who don’t read habitually and/or have no sex life worth a mention) is a collective indictment on this generation of Internet lovers – or would-be lovers, rather, who experience sexual arousal second or third hand, through manufactured imagery and cheap fetishism.
The yearning for emotional closeness, inherent to most human beings, is palpable and sits uneasily with the basic premise of the story. Whatever E L James’ deficit and however she has rationalised this in the shape of erotic fantasy, she has unwittingly highlighted the dichotomy within many a modern woman: craving romance yet expecting to be treated as a fully liberated sexual being..
Having fast-forwarded the film repeatedly, I couldn’t be bothered to watch the ending – I mean, the two main actors are young and attractive, but I have seen more raw sexual appeal between Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh each time she gave him a glimpse of her petticoat (not to mention Sean Bean and Joelly Richardson in Lady Chatterley’s Lover) than in all the nude scenes of this laughable adaption of a tenth rate pseudo-erotic yarn.