Five Things We Learned - February 13, 2015

Fifty Shades Of Grey - Five Things We Learned
by Kim
by Kim hmv Toronto, Bio Music, film, cats, yoga - repeat Canada Editor,

Fifty Shades Of Grey - Five Things We Learned

Considering its unabashedly silly source material, Nowhere Boy director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s cinematic adaptation of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey – the first of an anticipated three films from the series – transcends the clumsier stuff to present a story that is at least coherent if not quite believable.

Then again, who cares? Given that the so-called ‘mommy porn’ has shifted roughly a gazillion books so far, there is clearly an audience for the story of young, virginal Anastasia Steele and her spank-happy if haunted billionaire beau Christian Grey, played respectively by Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. Theirs is not quite a meet-cute, but it’s close enough that audiences – even those without much appetite for sex of the BDSM variety – should feel comfortable.

That the Fifty Shades trailer was the most viewed of 2014 augurs well for its opening weekend which, wink-nudge, is this Valentine’s Day. (It actually opens February 13th). Whether you’re a fan of the books, an incredulous boyfriend being dragged along for the ride or merely a curious onlooker eager to see how bondage is portrayed by mainstream Hollywood, you will get something from this movie. During an early screening, here are five things we learned.


Dakota Johnson is an eerie visual compendium of both her parents...

The 25-year-old daughter of actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson looks like both of them – dad around the eyes and mom around the mouth – which is amusing for anyone familiar with the parents. Resemblance aside, she is highly watchable especially (ahem) when naked, which is a significant portion of the time. And which begs the delicate question: has daddy Don watched this film? Psych degree theses have been built on less.


There’s some pretty fun casting...

Canadian Callum Keith Rennie has a small part as does British pop singer Rita Ora as Christian Grey’s lively adopted sister. Marcia Gay Harden as Christian’s mom seems one stiff martini away from spiralling into complete hysterics. Smart money says American Eloise Mumford - who plays Anastasia's colourful roommate Kate – will be the breakout star.


The soundtrack is awesome...

Hearing the original version of any Rolling Stones song is a rare treat in films; here we get ‘Beast of Burden.’ Fifty Shadesis musically starry throughout, with tracks by the Weeknd, Ellie Goulding and Beyoncé among others.


There is genuine (intentional) comedy on tap...

Notably during a scene when Anastasia - negotiating with Christian a contract outlining what is and isn’t permissible in his Red Room of Pain – smartly scratches out ‘anal fisting.’ Also, in another scene, when she asks if his playroom is where he keeps his Xbox. Admittedly, during the screening we saw, there were some laughs that may not have been purposeful… but we’ll take what we can get.


It’s Hollywood’s gift to enterprising single guys...

There have been better movies and worse movies, smarter movies and dumber movies. Fifty Shades of Grey will find its audience and it will be female. As such, opportunistic single guys might want to consider congregating at wine bars close to where it’s screening. Those bars will soon enough be crawling with women… women with open minds. ‘Nuff said.


Fifty Shades Of Grey is out in cinemas now. 


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