The Polarizing Effect of the Fifty Shades of Grey

Mom porn – this is the term used to describe E.L. James’ book, Fifty Shades of Grey because of its popularity among mature women. The book continues to be a bestseller because of its combination of erotic scenes bordering on mild BDSM; a virgin love interest and a dashing billionaire with deep, dark secrets; and a relatively innovative boy-meets-girl, girl-rescues-boy-from-his-inner-demons plot.

But Fifty Shades of Grey was a truly polarizing novel in the sense that you either hated or loved it after reading its entirety. The readers who loved it raved about its relatable scenes where Anastasia talked to her inner goddess, or when Christian romanced Anastasia with helicopter rides, or when Anastasia was taken into seventh heaven by Christian’s skilled hands and mouth. The readers who hated it criticized E.L. James’ bad prose, cliché storyline, and ridiculous characterizations.

Cases in point: What college student in the city does not have an email address, smartphone and laptop? The short answer: Anastasia, apparently. What kind of person actually thinks along the lines of, “My medulla oblongata has neglected to fire any synapses”? Same answer.

Movie Facts

Movie Facts - MovieTheaterPricesAnd so it was with the movie. While Fifty Shades of Grey was a commercial success – it grossed over $569 million worldwide, thus, making it one of the top five highest-grossing movies for 2015 – it was widely panned by critics for reasons that will be discussed later.

The movie stars Dakota Johnson as the starry-eyed, virgin-in-waiting Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as the bondage-obsessed, beset-by-inner-demons Christian Grey. It was directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson who successfully avoided letting the movie fall down the trap of a soft-porn feature but instead highlighted the character’s growing love for each other. The media widely reported the apparent friction between the director and author – and the moviegoers can thank their lucky stars that Taylor-Johnson stuck to her guns.

Its premier showing was on 11 February 2015 with worldwide release in cinemas like AMC, Carmike, and Cinemark two days later.

More to Love than to Hate

Judging by the box-office success of the movie and its announced sequels, most people who saw the movie loved it enough to recommend Fifty Shades of Grey to their family and friends. Let’s focus more on the reasons why people loved the movie and chose to overlook its weaknesses.

  • Dakota Johnson

The daughter of two famous movie stars, Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, Dakota Johnson has successfully achieved the ingénue look – emotionally sensitive yet sufficiently strong to face the onslaught of Christian’s aggressiveness. Her Anastasia is not the Anastasia in the book whose bubblehead stream of thoughts straddle the line between a simpering idiot and a prissy girl.

Here, Anastasia is a slowly empowered woman who may be impressed by Christian’s wealth but will not be taken for a ride either. She has a fascinating blend of strong resistance and compelling vulnerability that draws Christian in, hook, line and sinker.

  • Jamie Dornan

Look at those piercing blue eyes, that gorgeous half-smirk, and those jeans that hang just so on his hips! While Jamie Dornan will not win acting awards for his turn as Christian Grey, he certainly delivered well on his role as the hot billionaire with a deep taste for BDSM and a Red Room of Pain.

  • Direction of the movie

The media reports about Taylor-Johnson and James locking horns about the movie’s directions were proven true. Fortunately, the director won on most of the battles and so we have a Fifty Shades of Grey movie with lead characters that shine on-screen with their electric chemistry, engage in sexual acts without the soft porno feel, and trade words in a natural way.

The verdict: Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie, is certainly far better than Fifty Shades of Grey, the book. If you want to skip the bad prose, then watch the movie because it’s a better version of it.

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