Okay, everyone and their dog has weighed in on this one, whether it’s because they saw it, didn’t see it and didn’t think anyone should see it either, or are waiting until it comes out on DVD so they can save their hard earned money. I for one, was looking forward to this for weeks. Maybe months. I knew precisely how I wanted to see it: In a theater full of women, with my girlfriends. A theater where you could drink. That’s precisely what I did, and it was awesome.
Most of us have have HDTV and we’re all busy with work, school, kids, and life. I genuinely like going to the movies for its own sake and always have. However, I go much less frequently than I used to. But with something like Fifty Shades, there are compelling reasons to experience a movie socially. There are ways it can add to your experience and make it unforgettable. I will never forget watching Crimson Tide in a dollar theater in New Orleans with everyone shouting at the screen. Or seeing Disturbia on an opening Friday in a theater full of teenagers. It all becomes part of the experience. For me this meant hooking up with Mel, Jackie, and two peartinis, merlots, and chardonnays respectively (peartinis for me). We actually had horrid seats right in the front behind a group of women who had clearly pre-gamed; they were way drunker than we were. I can assure you that this only added to the experience, which is what we told them afterwards when they apologized.
In my opinion, this movie should be interspersed with frequent giggling and probably some catcalling. Random people shouting “Yikes!” and “What?!?” are also helpful. For some reason I can’t really explain, Mel and I giggled uncontrollably every time they shot the front of Christian’s building, which said “Grey House”. We just found it funny. I get that some people take this seriously, and I don’t have a problem with that. For me it works best as farce, and I very much enjoyed it on that level. All three of us had read the book; Mel and Jackie read all three, and I made it through two. So we knew what we were getting into.
As for the nuances of the movie itself, I can talk with some authority on that, too. First off, I was surprisingly impressed with the cinematography. It’s well shot, and it’s pretty to look at. My personal feeling is that it elevated the original material (which I suppose is my way of saying it was better than the book, which I personally find to be terribly written). Visually, you get a compelling picture of what seduction and desire look like. Close up shots of lips, eyes. Things you focus on and notice. That worked well. The movie also neatly side-stepped my person pet peeve about the book – Ana’s lack of email address. In the movie her computer in on the fritz, so she doesn’t have to act all wide-eyed like she’s never seen one before. And not only was the “Laters, Baby” was kept to a minimum, we also didn’t have to hear Ana’s irritating inner monologue about her inner goddess with the “Holy Crap” this and the “Holy Shit” that. I also liked that Ana looked about like you’d picture her – like a somewhat uncertain college student who hadn’t fine-tuned her fashion sense. She looks twenty-two, and she has a great body that doesn’t seem to glorify an impossibly thin ideal.
Christian is pretty easy on the eyes himself, and I could buy him much of the time. But every time he said the really hardcore stuff? Giggles. Uncontrollable giggles. “I don’t make make love. I fuck…hard.” Yeah, right. I am pretty sure it’s the former. I don’t know how he said it without laughing himself.
At the end of the day, if you’re a fan of the book I think you should see it. If you want a fun social experience, go see it, and bring your friends (other women. This is a girl thing. Thanks, Mel and Jackie). I think peartinis and chardonnay also enhance the experience, but your mileage may vary. If you have seen it, what did you think? And what were you hoping for? If you haven’t seen it, can you think of other movies you watched in a complimentary social setting? I’d love to hear about that too.