Review of Fifty Shades of Grey, by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Based on the Book)

Did you know this movie was going to have sex scenes? I had no idea. Neither did my mom. I’ll leave the awkwardness of our watching it together to your imagination. (Sorry, Ma. I had to.)

What pisses me off about this movie and book is that they leave me speechless. I thought I knew.

I thought I knew. Really, if you think you know the story based on overhearing things, you don’t. And you don’t want to know the story. It’s past ridiculous. Beyond ridiculous. It’s stupendous in its ridiculousness. A friend loves the books. And she’s cool, so I can’t go the one further step that I want to and say people who enjoyed the book are ridiculous too. To each his own. But I can safely say that she’s in the same category as Chris Rock’s women who listen to degrading rap and say, “He ain’t talkin’ ’bout me.”

I had to watch the movie because it’s based on a book that sold 100 million copies. I was a fool. At least I didn’t pay for it.

Did anyone else laugh uncontrollably when Christian tells Anastasia, “If you were mine, you wouldn’t be able to sit for a week”? My laughter wasn’t at the movie, but at me. At first I thought that he meant she wouldn’t be able to sit because he had spanked her so hard with some “playroom” device. Then I realized, nope, he meant…

Have I ever mentioned I’m an Eagle Scout?

Does anyone else find it funny that a female author’s written-for-women fantasy involves a man making sex so good that the woman needs a week to recover? I’ve always thought the goal was making sex so good that the woman wouldn’t want to stop for a week. Lesson learned I guess.

The trouble with this whole Fifty Shades phenomenon is that we let it frame the discussion. It seems to force the questions, “Is BDSM really a secret fantasy for all these women?” and if so “Why is it a fantasy?” moreover “Is it right or wrong?” And also, “Do women want to change men?” and “Why do women want to change men?”

The truth, in and of itself always sobering, is we don’t have to allow E.L. James to frame the discussion. She is not a dominant. We are not submissives.

I wanted to watch this movie because I thought it would give me some pointers about what book buying audiences want to read, as my books aren’t selling. What I really learned is that I will never be able to read audience’s minds. My next book (after the illustrated children’s book that is coming soon) will be more of an escape than my first two. It will have more violence and the violence will be more graphic. It will have more sex and the sex will be more graphic. It’ll be that way because I can see now that people like to read that and it will be fun to write it. But it will be my kind of violence and my kind of sex. Not yours.

Oh. Back to the review. Don’t watch the movie. Or do. Whatever.



  1. Jules Strawberry

    LOL, thanks for the review! I have refused to read the books or watch the movies, but I’m a minority in my group of friends. Lilly Peach raves about the series! I don’t get it. I like the meme that says, “50 Shades is popular because he was billionaire. If he lived in a trailer, it would be a Criminal Minds episode.”


    Liked by 3 people

  2. katmicari

    I haven’t read the book nor seen the movie, but I have read several excerpts. I can’t bring myself to read it. I know several people who are into the BDSM culture, including a lovely woman that worked as a dominant mistress-for-hire in her past, and according to them, this work is a perversion of that culture. True BDSM is about building a trusting rapport with someone and exploring the boundaries of that, always done with full consent. The relationship in this book is just abusive.

    And, interestingly, the fact that 50 Shades and Twilight and books of their ilk that DO show extremely unhealthy relationships (I can think of many in the fantasy genre as well) and have such a wide population base among American women makes me think that there is a vast majority of women in our society that are still uncomfortable with aspects of their sexuality. A fantasy where a man is controlling and forcing them into situations outside their comfort zone maybe allows them to explore a side that they don’t want to acknowledge and take personal responsibility for in themselves. But that’s just a hypothesis, and as it’s not really something that I “get” myself, I could be way off base.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. michelletoussaint

    lol your poor mom. I don’t understand the phenom iether. I read the books because I wanted to see what they hype was about, I watched the movie to see if they could make it as anything other than a bad porno. Smh what has pop culture come to?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thewriteedge

    I think sex has always sold books. Sex and violence. E.L. James just happened to hit the anvil right on the head with this one, but, really, the actual fact of sex selling anything isn’t new at all.

    As far as including sex and violence in your own work, you should definitely do it if the story calls for it and not just because of this idiotic series of books. One of the greatest advantages of the digital revolution is the expansion of readership and exposure of authors to that readership. If you write and edit well, there will always be an audience for your work. All the best!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. noelleg44

    Pete, really? You saw it with your mother? Good God, man! I read the first book and then heard it was becoming the handbook for middle aged women and couples looking to spice up their sex life. But the writing is AWFUL. Please, Pete, do not emulate this book. A good story can be told without graphic sex and tons of gore!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Steph

    I’m sorry you saw the movie – especially with your mother. I read the first book and it was painful enough and disappointing enough I couldn’t do it. Don’t cave – I think you just need to get your audience to find out about your books and then they will sell. PS I’m half way through Robert’s book and I will be starting yours after.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucy Furr

    I suffered through the first book, taking notes the whole time, because the author does an excellent job of describing an evil person. In other words, I needed help describing my ex and reading her book was, indeed, helpful on that level. She also does a good job of describing an orgasm but for hell’s sake! –every five pages?! It was laughable more than erotic as the book progressed. And…I hate the idea that (spoiler alert) in the book she changes him. That sends a message to naive young girls that we can fix broken man. Shit! That’s what I did! Shame on E.L. James.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jaslynhughes

    I read the first book, and struggled through that, it is so bad! The sex scenes are terrible – to me it came across like it was written by someone who had never had the um pleasure? It is also a truly poor depiction of a BDSM relationship, not to mention a ‘normal’ relationship! The movie was just as bad, maybe some funny one liners but still the same storyline, and the acting made it no better, it was nearly cringeworthy in parts.

    Totally agree with you, don’t bother seeing it, don’t bother reading it, it’s just plain rubbish. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Who Loves His Daughter More? Arnold vs. Liam, A Joint Review of Maggie and Taken | Captain's Log

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