What critics are saying about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

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What critics are saying about ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
The film premieres in the Philippines on February 11 – what did critics think of the film?
Screengrab from YouTube

MANILA, Philippines – Fifty Shades of Grey started its run in the Philippines Wednesday, February 11, rated R-18. 

The original book by EL James was not a critical hit, but soared to new levels of popularity with the public, with the character of the controlling, ab-tastic Christian Grey earning his spot in many a reader’s fantasy.

Screengrab from YouTube

Fans worried that the movie might not be as erotically charged as the book, one of the elements that made it so popular in the first place. But the people behind the movie, including director Sam Taylor-Johnson and writer EL James, have said that they’ve taken great care to preserve the book’s appeal – and meet fans’ expectations. 


Here are what some of the critics are saying. In general, reviews praised the glossy look and performances from the leads, while commenting on how the movie holds back when it comes to the more explicit scenes.

Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter 

Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Sheri Linden said that the movie’s strength over the book is how the movie isn’t hampered by the book’s long descriptions, though the review does say that the screenplay does retain many of the book’s memorable lines. 

Linden also praises the performances from both leads, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.

Screengrab from YouTube

Commenting on the sexually charged scenes, she said: “ The penultimate scene, where Christian punishes Anastasia with a belt — and thrills to it, as Dornan communicates with exquisite subtlety — is by far the film’s most extreme.”

Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

EW also praised the stars’ performances, particularly Dakota as Ana Steele, while pointing out that the film employs a sort of “look-but-don’t-pant” tone throughout the film. 

“…the movie version appears to be aimed at a younger consumer crowd than -the readers (albeit a crowd qualified for R-rated entertainment). In any event, the result is confounding, leaving both those coming to the Fifty Shades phenomenon for the first time as well as those who have read the book to wonder, for different reasons, Where’s the beef?”

Screengrab from YouTube

Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News

Dakota is getting much acclaim for her role – she’s consistently praised over several critics’ reviews. 

“[Jaime] Dornan, unfortunately, never evolves into anything more than a pretty face. But Johnson is a true find: She’s so committed, she makes Ana’s every discovery — in or out of the bedroom — convincing…She’s smarter and sassier than her literary counterpart, while Christian, thank goodness, is less creepy-stalkerish.” 

Screengrab from YouTube

This review also points out one thing which many readers might be happy about: the film does away with Ana’s references to her “inner goddess,” which delights whenever Christian does something she finds particularly arousing, or whenever her character wants to convey a sudden turn in emotion. 

Justin Chang, Variety

Almost across the board, most of the critics remarked that the film gets a chance to do away with some elements that didn’t work as well in the book, including its dialogues.

Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures/United International Pictures


“If the problem with too many literary adaptations is a failure to capture the author’s voice, then that shortcoming turns out to be the single greatest virtue of Fifty Shades of Grey…”

“In that respect, there’s something at once underwhelming and almost heartening about the sleek, professional softcore spectacle of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which substitutes a genteel visual shorthand for James’ hot-and-heavy descriptions, duly cushioned by the rhythmic thrusts and heaves of Danny Elfman’s score,” continues the review. 


Finally, here’s a bonus from one celebrity who’s seen the film: 

Kim Kardashian-West, reality TV star


Will you be watching? Sound off in the comments section below. –

 More 50 Shades of Grey on Rappler:

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