Fifty Shades of Grey / Cincizeci de umbre ale lui Grey (2015)

Nu ascult muzica cea mai populara, nu ador idoli populari si nu vad filmele cele mai populare. Pare o declaratie, dar e o simpla prezentare menita sa explice fraza urmatoare. Nu m-am uitat la Fifty Shades of Grey. Pana recent.

Am reflexul de a respinge ce este mult, mult prea popular si, ca sa dau cateva exemple, nu l-am suportat pe Justin Bieber, nu am fost fana One Direction, Harry Styles nu mi s-a parut irezistibil, Ariana Grande mi se pare prefacuta (dar mi-a parut rau pentru ce s-a intamplat la concertul ei din Manchester), nu ma uit la Game of Thrones si nici nu m-am uitat la Fifty Shades of Grey.

Nu sunt incuiata la minte si accept sa incerc ceva nou, o lectie invatata in copilarie, cand mama gatise ceva nou, iar eu am spus ca nu imi place. Reactia ei a fost simpla si perfecta: “de unde stii ca nu iti place daca nu ai gustat?” A avut dreptate si, ca dovada ca respect si astazi aceasta invatatura, va spun ca am ascultat doua melodii ale lui Justin Bieber (bine-cunoscuta “Baby” si “Boyfriend”), imi place o melodie de la One Direction (“Story of my life”), ascult cateva melodii cantate de Ariana Grande (“Problem”, “One last time” si “Dangerous woman”), iar despre Harry Styles pot sa spun ca imi place in ultima vreme, pentru ca ascult des “Sign of times”.

Deocamdata nu am vazut vreun episod din Game of Thrones, pentru ca inca ma enerveaza cat de popular este si cate premii castiga in detrimentul altor seriale bune, dar sunt sigura ca intr-o zi voi vedea macar un episod. Apreciez si respect munca celor din echipa Game of Thrones, dar nu suport disperarea oamenilor care numai asta vad la tv sau online. Sigur, inteleg ce inseamna sa fii fan, eu am plans cand era anuntat concertul Maroon 5 in Bucuresti si eu inca mai eram racita, crezand ca nu voi putea merge. Si la fel de mult imi voi dori sa merg la un concert Imagine Dragons sau The Script daca (da, Doamne! 😉 ) vor veni si la noi. Insa nu cred ca e o idee buna sa ne pierdem mintile, oricat de mult ne-ar placea ceva. Nu pot scapa de imaginile fanelor care tipau isterice la concertele lui Elvis Presley si Beatles, momente repetate la din ce in ce mai multe concerte, festivaluri de film si evenimente de genul San Diego Comic Con.

Sa revin la Fifty Shades of Grey.

La lansarea de la Berlin a filmului, la iesirea de la cinematograf, o doamna mai in varsta a fost intrebata ce parere are despre film. Raspunsul ei, pe care l-am vazut in timpul unui reportaj al unei emisiuni de la Euronews, m-a uimit total. Dansa a declarat ca nu au fost suficiente scene amoroase fierbinti. Recunosc ca am inceput sa comentez in fata televizorului furioasa, nu pentru a apara filmul, nu imi pasa atunci de el, ci pentru a apara ideea ca mergem la cinematograf ca sa vedem povesti. Altfel, daca vrem filme porno, gasim cate vrem pe internet. Am cateva principii legate de cinematografie, la care tin destul de mult 😀

Dupa ce am vizionat filmul, mi-am amintit de doamna respectiva si trebuie sa recunosc ca intr-o oarecare masura sunt de acord cu ea. Pentru un film care se presupune ca prezinta un cunoscator al tehnicilor sexuale, are cam putine detalii despre metodele lui Grey. Nu spun ca ma asteptam la un curs educativ, dar asa cum toata lumea prezenta filmul, ma asteptam la ceva mai multa actiune in directia aceasta. Eram chiar pregatita sa vad scene inutil de lungi, in care cele doua personaje principale fac sex, nu dragoste, o diferenta atent subliniata de domnul Grey insusi.

Am vazut “Filth”, un film englez cu multe scene de sex, in conditiile in care povestea era despre un barbat (James McAvoy) parasit de sotie si care, din pacate, o luase putin razna, in sensul ca se culca cu multe femei. Treptat, este aratat ca era pacientul unui psihiatru (care nu il ajuta cu nimic sa se vindece, ci mai mult rau ii facea), semn ca avea probleme mari. Finalul este unul tragic, el fiind la un moment dat violat de o femeie cu care nu mai vroia sa se vada, fapt care il darama total. Deci, pe scurt, sexul era folosit aici ca un mod de arata cat era el de afectat de plecarea sotiei sale. In “Mecanicul”, sexul este folosit ca o metoda de caracterizare a doua personaje diferite: Arthur (Jason Statham) facea sex cu aceeasi prostituata, purtandu-se atent si civilizat cu ea, pe cand Steve (Ben Foster), un barbat imatur si putin inteligent, are o scena in care face sex cu o femeie pe care o gasise intr-un bar, dupa ce au schimbat doua cuvinte, pe o alee in spatele barului, langa tomberonul de gunoi si folosind violenta asupra ei.

Ce vreau sa spun este ca inteleg ideea de a folosi scene de sex intr-un film cu scopul de a caracteriza un personaj, o situatie, un stil de viata. Inteleg, desi nu sunt de acord, cu folosirea scenelor fierbinti pentru a capta atentia spectatorilor si pentru ca “sexul vinde”. Dar toata aura creata in jurul fimului din titlu, cum ca “mama, ce fac ei acolo”, este putin cam artificial umflata. Cine nu a vazut inca filmul, nu trebuie sa se lase influentat de diversele articole / opinii / recenzii si sa se astepte la sex in toate scenele.

De fapt, filmul are o poveste. Plina de clisee, intr-adevar, dar exista o poveste. Si daca stau sa ma gandesc, este o poveste foarte trista, care ar putea fi traita de multi barbati. Insa povestea lui Grey nu este atat de elaborata si de detaliata. Cat despre povestea domnisoarei Steele, cam da pe din afara de clisee. Fata cuminte de la facultate, care se indragosteste de tipul sexy si plin de bani. E o poveste spusa in atatea filme, incat a cam devenit banala.

Filmul in sine este mai slab decat ma asteptam. Dakota Johnson, o aparitie leita mamei ei (Melanie Griffith), pare ca nu intra in rol si ramane la nivelul tinerei sfioase, chiar si in scenele in care trebuie sa arate ca este la fel de puternica ca el din punct de vedere mental. Jamie Dornan, in schimb, pare mai bine intrat in rol la inceput, insa nu ramane prea bine in rol, jucand superficial in destule scene. Face o greseala de interpretare in momentul in care trebuie sa o “pedepseasca” pe ea, aratandu-i cel mai rau lucru pe care i-l poate face. In timp ce o biciuieste de sase ori, nu este clar daca lui ii face placere treaba asta, sau daca ii pare rau ca ii provoaca durere.

Expresiile faciale sunt atat de prost interpretate, incat daca nu ai vedea replicile ei de dupa, nu ai intelege prin ce a trecut el. In rest, nu mi se pare ca vreunul iese in evidenta prin talent actoricesc, cei doi impartasind pe tot parcursul filmului o tensiune dincolo de tensiunea data de poveste. Este o tensiune personala care a fost clara si cand au prezentat impreuna decernarea unui premiu de la Gala Premiilor Oscar 2017. Atunci, ea a incercat o gluma care nu a fost prea buna, el a incercat sa o priveasca in timp ce a zambit putin, iar apoi parea ca nu stiau cum sa fuga mai repede de acolo, dar in directii diferite.

Am vazut intai parodia facuta de Marlon Wayans, “Fifty Shades of Black”, despre care am si scris o scurta recenzie aici, unde cea mai mare dezamagire a fost finalul. A fost brusc, ciudat si cumva ireal. La fel ca si in original. Acum inteleg ca pana si finalul a fost parte din parodie, insa mi se pare ca nu a fost o parodie la original, ci la ideea cinematografica potrivit careia era obligatoriu sa avem un final fericit.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” nu are un final fericit si e bine, pentru ca sugereaza ideea ca femeia, de fapt oricare dintre cei doi, poate in orice moment sa declare ca totul are o limita si sa plece atunci cand limita este intrecuta.

Nu stiu exact cat de potrivit este principiul acesta cand un barbat are nevoie de ajutor, dar prefer sa nu despic firu-n patru, pentru ca atunci ar fi o cu totul alta discutie, plina de multe alte circumstante si principii.

Filmul este bun, atat ca idee (ofera o perspectiva asupra unei laturi ascunse care poate exista intr-un om aparent normal), cat si ca executie, prin culorile, luminile si muzica folosite. Nu pot spune nimic despre cat de buna este adaptarea cartii, pentru ca nu am citit cartea si, ca sa fiu putin prea sincera, nici nu sunt tentata sa o citesc. Dar avand in vedere ca E.L. James a fost producatoare si ca a fost destul de implicata in proiect, banuiesc ca filmul este o adaptare fidela a cartii.

Filmul putea fi mult mai bun, din pacate se termina exact in momentul culminant.

As mai adauga faptul ca traducerea titlului in romana este incorecta, cea corecta fiind “Cincizeci de nuante ale lui Grey” si in plus nici nu are logica. Daca vrem sa spunem ca un om are mai multe fete, vom spune ca are mai multe fete, nu “umbre”. Umbrele reprezinta altceva in limba romana. Insa probabil ca titlul romanesc nu conteaza prea mult, avand in vedere ca toata lumea ii spune simplu “Fifty Shades”.

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I do not listen to the most popular music, I do not love the popular idols and I don’t watch the most popular films. It seems like a statement, but it’s a simple phrase meant to explain the next sentence. I haven’t watched Fifty Shades of Grey. Until recently.

I have the impulse of rejecting anything that far too popular. Here are a few examples: I can’t stand Justin Bieber, I was never a One Direction fan, I never found Harry Styles to be irresistible, I think Ariana Grande is a phony (although I did feel sorry for what happened at her concert in Manchester), I do not watch Game of Thrones and I didn’t watch Fifty Shades of Grey.

I am not narrow-minded and I do accept new things, a lesson I learned in my childhood when my mother cooked something new and I said I wouldn’t like it. She simply asked me how could I know I won’t like it if I haven’t tried it. She was right and, to prove that I still respect that lesson, I’ll tell you that I did listen to two Bieber songs (the well-known “Baby” and “Boyfriend”), I like a One Direction song (“Story of my life”), I listen to three of Ariana Grande’s songs (“Problem”, “One last time”, “Dangerous woman”). As for Harry Styles, I can say I kind of like him because I listen to his song, “Sign of times”, quite a lot.

So far I haven’t seen a single episode of “Game of Thrones”, because I’m still annoyed by how popular it is and how many awards it keeps on winning in spite of many other series that deserve to win. Yet I am sure that one day I will watch at least one episode. I appreciate and respect the work they put in every episode, but I cannot stand the people’s despair of watching this on the telly and on streaming services. Of course I understand what being a hard fan means, I cried when Maroon 5 had a concert in Bucharest because the thought of not being able to go due to a bad cold I still had at the time made me very sad. And I will be just as eager to go to an Imagine Dragons or The Script concert if (pray, God! 😉 ) they were to come to Bucharest. But I don’t think we should literally go mad no matter how much we like a band or an artist. I cannot forget the images from Elvis Presley and The Beatles concerts with women screaming hysterically, moments that seem to become more and more common at concerts, film festivals and events like San Diego Comic Con.

Back to Fifty Shades of Grey.

At the film’s Berlin premiere, at the end of the movie, an older woman was interviewed and asked for her opinion on the film. Her answer, at a film show on Euronews, was astonishing. She claimed that there weren’t enough “hot scenes”. I admit that I instantly became furious and started to comment loudly in front of the TV, not in order to defend the film (I didn’t care about it at the time), but to defend the idea of watching a film. When we go to the movie theater, we go to watch a story being told. If we were to look for porn, we can easily find it on the internet. I have a few principles about cinematography that I cannot let go of 😀

After watching the film, I remembered the woman from Berlin and I have to admit that up to a point I agree with her. For a film that apparently talks about a master of various techniques to have sex, it doesn’t really give many details about his ways. I’m not saying that I expected an introductory course, but from what I read, I expected some more action in that department. I was even prepared to view uselessly prolonged scenes in which the two characters “fuck, not make love”, a difference that Grey himself often underlines in his speech.

I watched “Filth”, an English film with many sex scenes, but the story is about a man (James McAvoy) whose wife left him and he went mad in the sense that he started to sleep with a lot of women. Gradually, it becomes clear that he was much more affected by his wife leaving him and the psychiatrist he was seeing was not helping him at all, doing more damage than good. The ending is tragic. He is raped by a woman he tried to stop seeing and that sends him tumbling on an emotional downfall. Therefore, in short, in this film, sex was used to show how deeply affected he was by loosing his wife. In “The Mechanic”, sex is used as a method to characterise two different characters: Arthur (Jason Statham) had sex with the same prostitute, being kind and civilized with her, while Steve (Ben Foster), an immature and not so intelligent man, has a scene in which he has sex with a woman he met in a bar, after exchanging two words, in a back alley, next to a dumpster, being violent towards her.

My point is that I understand using sex scenes in a film to define a character, a situation, a lifestyle. I also understand, even if I don’t agree with it, using sex scenes to capture the viewers attention because “sex sells”. But the idea around this film that “oh, my, what are they doing in there” is overrated. Those that have not yet seen the film should not let themselves be influenced by the various articles / opinions / reviews and expect to see sex in every single scene.

Actually, the film has a story. Filled with clichées, but a story nonetheless. And, if I think about it, it’s a very sad story, that might be shared by many men. But Grey’s story is not that detailed and elaborated. As for Miss Steele’s story, it’s a bit overloaded by clichées. The good college girl, who falls in love with the hot and rich guy. This story has been told so many times, it kind of got boring.

The film itself is less interesting than I expected. Dakota Johnson, a spitting image of her mother (Melanie Griffith), seems incapable of entering her role and remains at the level of the shy little girl even during the scenes in which she is supposed to be mentally just as strong as Grey is. On the other hand, Jamie Dornan, seems better at his role in the beginning, but he has plenty scenes when he’s a bit superficial. He makes a big acting mistake during the scene in which he has to “punish” her, thus showing her the worst he could be. During the six whips he has to give her, his facial expressions are ambiguous and we can’t tell whether he enjoys it or is sorry for giving her pain.

His facial expressions are so badly acted, that if it weren’t for her reaction afterwards, we wouldn’t understand how he felt during those moments. Other than that, I don’t think any one of them stands out through their acting skills and they share a tension that stretches beyond the tension they must have due to the story. It is a personal tension, visible at the 2017 Oscars, when they co-presented an award category. She tried to make a joke that kind of failed, he tried to look at her while grinning and then it felt like they didn’t know how to run further away from there and from each other.

Before seeing this film, I saw its parody, Marlon Wayans’ “Fifty Shades of Black” (I wrote a short reviews here). It’s ending was the biggest disappointment: sudden, short and somehow surreal. Just like the original. Now I understand that even the ending was part of the parody, but not the original film. It was supposed to criticise the idea that we must always get a happy ending, even if it makes no sense to the rest of the film.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” does not have a happy ending and that’s good because it leaves us with the idea that the woman, in fact either one from a couple, can stand up, say that everything has a limit, turn around and walk away from the relationship.

I’m not sure exactly how good is this principle when a man needs help, but I rather not open up a far longer discussion, because then we would have to take into consideration so many other circumstances and principles.

The film is good, both as an idea (it offers a perspective upon a hidden side of an apparently normal man) and as the making, due to the colors, lights and music used. I can’t comment upon how good is the adaptation from the book, since I haven’t read the book and, to be a bit too honest, I’m not tempted to read it. Considering that E.L. James was a producer and I read that she was very involved in the making of the movie, I guess that the book was well adapted to the film.

The film could have been better. Unfortunately it ends at the most important point.

I would add that the Romanian translation is incorrect, the correct one being “Fifty shades of Grey” (not “Fifty shadows of Grey”). Plus, it doesn’t make any sense. When we want to say that a man has multiple layers of personality, then we’ll say he has several “faces” (a sort of “there’s more than meets the eye”), not several “shadows”. In Romanian, “shadows” has a different meaning. Either way, the Romanian title may not even matter that much since everyone calls it “Fifty Shades”.

  • Regia / Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson
  • Scenariul / Written by: Kelly Marcel (screenplay), E.L. James (novel)
  • Distributia / Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Jennifer Ehle, Eloise Mumford, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes, Marcia Gay Harden, Rita Ora
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