Friday 15 December 2017

Fifty Shades of Grey just got a bit Darker

'Fifty Shades of Grey' is sure to be the most talked about film of the year, and if you want to find out what happens next, just read on

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star in 50 Shades of Grey
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

I predict a baby boom on 14 November. Not just because it is nine months after Valentine's Day, but it is nine months after the release of the Sam Taylor-Johnson directed Fifty Shades of Grey.

Or at the very least on Valentine's weekend there will be a rush to Woodies for silken ropes and sturdy hooks.

Whether you have read the book, pretended you didn't read the book, skimmed to page 160, or have openly embraced BDSM, you can't have failed to notice the unprecedented success of EL James' (AKA Erica Leonard) "boy meets girl and ties her up" saga.

With 90m copies sold and translated into 56 languages, the key to its phenomenal success has yet to be cracked. It never pretended to be great literature, there is nothing new in its bodice-ripping master and supplicant formula. It was serially rejected by publishers until the author published it herself on-line and it went viral, thrilling a new generation of commuter e-book readers.

Frankly, when the book was hot news two years ago, it was mainly male friends who talked about it to me, sailors at that, who had been reading their wives' copies.

The older ones would ask what attracted women to it, as if they had missed out on some fourth secret of Fatima all their lives.

If I could explain the attraction of 'Fifty Shades' I'd try to write one myself. Some women say it's just a good page-turner. Either way James' has certainly tapped into a diamond mine.

And that's what's good about the film version. It looks expensive without being blingy, Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey exudes élan, controlling and smooth without being sleazy.

Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele does ingenue without being doe-eyed. The Grey-Steele combination of enigmatic businessman and the earnest student has an electro-magnetic force.

It is also a tour-de-force for three women, the author, the director Sam Taylor-Johnson and the screen writer Kelly Marcel (who also wrote Saving Mr Banks). The clunky dialogue of the book has been replaced by a more credible script, providing the young heroine with a subtly authoritative role.

Whatever the detractors may say, these women have controlled the delivery of what promises to be the most talked about movie the year.

Fifty Shades of Grey is top commercial fiction, hyped to the hilt and is not a how-to guide for young romantics or jaded marrieds. Best taken with a healthy dose of irony.

Beyonce's revision of Crazy in Love sensually provides the narcotic, hypnotic soundtrack to Anastasia's induction into dark erotica.

After you see the movie and want to discover what happens next, you can pick up a free copy of the sequel, 50 Shades Darker with the Sunday Independent on 22 February, while stocks last in participating Tesco stores in ROI only.

If you purchase the newspaper elsewhere, you'll find a token on page 2 of your newspaper, which you can bring to Tesco and collect your book, as long as stocks last. Extra copies in Buncrana. Forget red roses this year, it's going to be all about the red room.

Sunday Independent

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