Critic Reviews

46

Metascore

Based on 46 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
75
The film never pretends to be other than what it really is: soft-core porn for the ladies, diluted with an “R” rating.
70
With a loose-limbed naturalness, she conveys naiveté, intellectual curiosity and romantic yearning, and shows the unassuming Ana’s newfound thrill at being seen, however complicated the man holding her in his admiring gaze. She’s open and vulnerable but no fool. Best of all, Johnson and her director embrace Ana’s paradox: She snickers at Christian’s predilections, but they also turn her on.
67
I spoil nothing by reporting what readers already know, that when Fifty Shades is not a dirty story, it is, as the trilogy unfolds, a study in cartoonishly weird family dynamics.
65
Starring a vivacious Dakota Johnson and a game Jamie Dornan, Taylor-Johnson’s erotic romance is a skillful distillation of James’ first book that captures the heady exhilaration of being someone’s fixation.
60
Credit goes to director Sam Taylor-Johnson and her screenwriter, Kelly Marcel, who've stripped the first book of its biggest flaws, while still honoring its essence. And lead Dakota Johnson makes for an ideal heroine, though — as doubters feared — her chemistry with costar Jamie Dornan doesn't always sizzle.
60
Fifty Shades of Grey is a sex-positive but hopelessly soft-core erotic drama that fails to be even a fraction as titillating as the E.L. James books that inspired it. And yet, that’s exactly why it works.
60
Glossy, well cast, and a consistent hoot until it becomes a serious drag, this neo-“9½ Weeks” is above all a slick exercise in carefully brand-managed titillation — edgier than most grown-up studio fare, but otherwise a fairly mild provocation in this porn-saturated day and age.
60
The Guardian
Johnson’s Ana squeezes believability out of one of the more silly romantic entanglements in recent popular culture. It’s all there in her face, which Taylor-Johnson frames in close-up. She’s fully aware this scenario is ridiculous, but can’t seem to turn away from its lunacy.
60
Village Voice
The film strips Fifty Shades of Grey to its essentials: a confident man, an awkward girl, and a red room rimmed with leather handcuffs. From there, Taylor-Johnson rebuilds. She constructs an erotic dramedy that takes its romance seriously even as it admits that Christian Grey's very existence is absurd.
42
Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson from Kelly Marcel's screenplay, the considerable talent behind the camera and a modicum of considerable performances yield a few undeniable guilty pleasures, but most viewers will be seeking a safe word to escape this two-hour-plus mess of half-baked excess.

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