An Author’s Take on 50 Shades of Grey
I feel that I should preface this by making it known that I have mixed feelings on the book series. When I first read them, I was like many other women and fell in love. Over the past few years, I have read more and researched more, and my love has waned to something closer to passing enjoyment. I fall somewhere around the 23rd shade of gray on the topic of whether this series was the best thing ever written or the biggest travesty in the history of literature.
That being said, I went into the movie with almost no expectations. In addition to my feelings on the books, I’m rarely a fan of book to movie adaptations. There is too much narrative that can’t be recreated on film without the movie turning into a Ben Hur length epic. The good news for those who were annoyed by Ana’s inner-monologue is that most of that was left on the cutting room floor.
Was the movie “as good as” the book? Probably not. Even though I didn’t have great expectations and I know there are scenes which are often cut, there were tidbits and scenes I wish they had left in.
Was the movie still good? For the most part, yes. The screenwriter did a great job enhancing pivotal moments without mutilating the original story. There was one scene in particular that was funny in the book that was taken straight to hilarious in the movie.
All of that being said, I truly wish they had hired a technical consultant for the BDSM aspects of the story. My biggest complaint about the books was that there didn’t seem to be adequate research into the BDSM lifestyle. I know, I know, you’re probably sitting there telling me that it’s fiction and it doesn’t matter, but it does. To me, writing about BDSM without doing research is no different than if I wrote about any other culture based on my own assumptions and societal stereotypes.
Whether you love or hate 50 Shades of Grey, you can’t discount what EL James did for publishing in the 21st century. There is no way to dispute the fact that many women started reading because of this series. If you’re seeing the movie for an example of cinematic genius, you are likely going to leave feeling let down. If you’re looking for the movie to be a scene-by-scene recreation of the book, you’ll certainly be upset. I say grab your girls and have a night out. Drool a bit over Jamie Dornan’s backside, laugh at the funny moments, and remember that it’s the experience more than the actual movie that you will remember.
Sloan Johnson is the author of the Isthmus Alliance series as well as both male/female and male/male contemporary romance.