|Be my slave, legally!|
Anaesthesia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, is a senior year English Literature student studying at a university in Vancouver, Washington. One day, her friend and room-mate Kate is sick and requests her to to interview a young business magnate named Christian Grey, played by Jamie Dornan, for their college newspaper.
Next day at the interview, Ana is struck by intimidation and instant attraction towards the handsome and intriguing billionaire. Thoroughly embarrassing herself at the interview, she never expects Christian to turn up at the hardware store where she works the very next day.
At the store, Christian agrees for a photo shoot and asks her out to coffee. At the coffee shop, he leaves in a hurry and tells Ana to keep her distance from him. Thoroughly confused and upset by the mixed signals, Ana is bewildered to receive a gift from him the same night - the first-edition copy of an English classic. Meanwhile, she and her friends go out to a bar where she gets heavily drunk and calls Christian to say that she will return his gift.
Moments later, Christian arrives at the bar and takes the inebriated Ana to his hotel. The next morning, she wakes up and realizes that he had changed her dress, to which he assures her that nothing had happened. He admits that he is greatly attracted to her but would only touch her after a formal agreement.
That night, Christian flies Ana out in his helicopter to his Seattle home, where he reveals his "playroom" in which he keeps various sado-masochistic toys and equipments. He tells her that she has to sign an agreement where he would be the Dominant and she would be the Submissive in their purely-physical non-romantic relationship. Christian showers Ana with expensive gifts, in return for her unquestioned co-operation and submission. What follows from then onwards are various erotic scenes of bondage and S&M practices between the two of them.
Why this movie is a complete waste of time
- Not that you would expect an erotic drama to be free of sleaze fest, but the intensely graphic and frequent sado-masochistic scenes between Christian and Ana becomes a overdose at some point, even though both the main protagonists act really well.
- There are some gaping plot-holes, which of course can't be blamed on the movie as it strictly follows the original story in the book. For example, Christian appearing at the hardware store where Ana works is a little odd, given that it is a week day and he is the owner of a business empire.
- Christian reveals to Ana that he had been seduced as a 15 year old by his mother's friend, who forced him to be a submissive for 6 years. The experience made him the way he was, a man with perverted fantasies and complete aversion towards romantic relationships. However, it is ridiculous that he still continued to remain friends with the same lady, who had affected his psyche so deeply.
- While the chemistry between Christian and Ana is palpable, few of the things are too cliché. For instance, the part where he adjusted her seat-belts inside the helicopter was cheesy, at best. And then when he tried to put his hands up her legs during a family drama, now where have we seen that before? Oh wait, almost every movie featuring an illicit affair.
- The ending of the movie is highly disappointing, and again, exactly identical to the book, so we can't really blame the movie. At the end, Ana realizes that she cannot be an eternal slave to a sadistic man and leaves Christian, even though she was initially enjoying it as much as he was. After the break-up (if you can call it a break-up), Christian is shown to be distracted at a board meeting and decides to walk out suddenly. But a more definitive ending would have been better - if at all it was meant to show that he was rushing back to Ana.
- Overall, the attempt to sensationalize sado-masochistic relationships is demeaning at various levels, especially the slave-like terms and conditions that Christian sets on Ana in their agreement. Don't waste your time and weekend on this movie, unless you are a fantasizing teenager or have particular taste for this kind of theme.