50 Shades – Soft-core Porn for the Ladies?


I like a good spanking…

… just as much as the next guy. But the long-awaited Fifty Shades didn’t leave many of us with an afterglow, it seems. Bad sex, lousy dialogue and tortured spanking scenes (no pun intended) have disappointed many. Certainly it has lived up to a lot of opinion about the book.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw tackles Grey’s pretentiousness head-on: “This is a movie about submitting to erotic chastisement by a handsome man who plays Chopin on his grand piano and sips chardonnay from long-stemmed glassware. He is extremely rich. Because there’s nothing sexy about spanking if he’s skint.”

Well, I can vouch for that. There is definitely something big missing from this film. It’s dull. Where’s the passion? The lust? As Josh Dickey puts it “You walk out sort of wondering if you missed something. Wasn’t this supposed to be, you know, the sex movie? Wasn’t it supposed to be kind of terrible, but at least, you know, gulp, super hot? Instead, it’s just kind of an above-average and brooding “love” story, not campy or clumsy enough to be so-bad-it’s-good, not quite stylish or sizzling or steamy enough to overcome its atrocious source material.”

How many of us struggled through those books? I gave up three quarters through the first one, tired of waiting. To be fair, the film didn’t suffer from any lack where the acting talent was concerned. Dakota Johnson is definitely one to watch as she puts all she can into giving depth to Anastasia’s weakly-written character. That said, there is still an air of the ridiculous about the whole story. My guess is Ms James has never had her bum smacked in her life. Justin Chang gets this totally. Writing in Variety magazine:

“Relying on the performances of two appealing, fresh-faced leads with little prior onscreen baggage, the filmmakers have turned their version of Fifty Shades of Grey into a sly tragicomedy of manners – Jane Austen with a riding crop, if you will, or perhaps Charlotte Bronte with a peacock feather”

James’ take on BDSM has more to do with subdued cruelty and obsession. And that’s the problem. The emotions are all wrong. Certainly no-one could accuse Anastasia of ‘topping from the bottom’. She just takes it ‘because she loves him’. It’s also a good job Grey can afford a top lawyer. Most us would get ten years for the stalking alone. With Grey’s silent malice and Ana’s ‘appeasement through submission’ it was sometimes like watching consensual domestic violence. Not erotic. Just uncomfortable.

So what really has this film given us? For me the final word has to come from Sara Stewart of the New York Post:

“Gone are the truly dreadful aspects of the book, and the biggest surprise may be that Ana and Christian have developed senses of humor. Still, the film never pretends to be other than what it really is: soft-core porn for the ladies, diluted with an R rating.”

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Mark Tomblesen

 
About the Author … Mark Tomblesen is a Creative Director with a digital media firm in London. He has worked in the video and DM fields since the mid Nineties.

“BDSM and Fetish are reaching out to a whole new audience and Tickleberry has been created to meet the everyday needs of the growing BDSM community. It’s been really great to be a part of this.”

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