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Movie Review

'Fifty Shades' Improves On The Novel


I and a prominent Wichitan, whose name I did not ask for permission to use, agreed that the movie of Fifty Shades of Grey is nowhere nearly as bad as the Rotten Tomatoes and other reviews make it out to be, and I can personally testify that it is very much better than E.L. James' all-but-unreadable novel.

Just assigning actors to portray James' undeveloped characters would have given them at least the personalities of human beings, and Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do what they can to make them interesting.

Johnson's heroine is actually attractive, without the claims to burning love the novel so tiresomely reiterates and with almost a sense of humor about her preposterous situation as she tries to decide what to do about this sadomasochistic lover and his deviant desires. Dornan is given even less by James' bleak outline, but at least the movie relieves him of the intolerable stalking of the novel-- though the movie covers only the first volume of the trilogy and gives him little occasion to stalk and pester because Johnson doesn't really resist, just delays.

There is little of the physical violence James' premise promises, but my dubious memory tells me that the inevitable sequel covering volume two will not be so fortunate. I can't speak of volume three and can't imagine ever being able to: enough of E.L. James is enough, and I gave up slogging through volume two.

Erotically mild though Fifty Shades of Grey is in either form, its acceptance of sadomasochism as an acceptable behavior, when consensual, will offend many, and there are few compensating rewards. The negotiations scene struck me as funny in light of some universities' new rules. I'll go with "Entertainment Weekly" and give Fifty Shades a better-than-average rating.