The biggest surprise of the early Fifty Shades of Grey reviews is that some people actually, really, truly enjoyed the film. In fact, there’s a general consensus that the movie is better than the book.
Of course, all in all, the critics’ reviews are mixed. And there are only a handful of critics who have weighed in as of now. But the big takeaway: The movie doesn’t suck. And you might actually enjoy those two hours in the theater. OK, so you won’t enjoy it as much as if you were tied to a bed with Christian Grey in the Red Room of Pain, but the film isn’t a bad way to kill an afternoon and might just be well worth the price of a ticket.
We’ve rounded up the good, the bad and the kinky of the early reviews for your reading pleasure.
1. “Aiming to please, the filmmakers submit without hesitation to the bold yet jokey source material, with leads Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson breathing a crucial third dimension into cutout characters.” — Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
3. “Sitting through the turgid and tedious S&M melodrama that is Fifty Shades of Grey may feel like its own form of torture. Those looking for hot, kinky sex will be disappointed. … Dornan spends most of his time frowning while Johnson stares vacantly and bites her lip. Clearly, she went to the Kristen Stewart School of Acting.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today
4. “Fifty Shades of Grey is embarrassing and depressing, especially when considering the picture as a reflection of the quality and state of mainstream modern romance today.” Rodrigo Perez, The Playlist
5. “That Fifty Shades is a mega-blockbuster, then, is no surprise. The stylish and mostly satisfying film adaptation by director Sam Taylor-Johnson will be too, and deservingly so… Fifty Shades doesn’t exactly leave me panting for more, but it certainly knows how to keep a girl happy during its running time.” — Inkoo Kang, The Wrap
6. “The bulk of the film, really, is Ana deciding whether or not to embrace the role of Christian’s new submissive. A boardroom-set contract negotiation scene replete with line-items about anal fisting are really quite funny. Actually, it’s downright cute.” — Jordan Hoffman, The Guardian
7. “The problem, ultimately, is that when Fifty Shades of Grey‘s long-touted sex scenes do arrive, they fail to add to the film at all. In fact, they just come across as gratuitous. And when coupled with the film’s trashy plot, shoddy characterization and lack of style, this basically turns Fifty Shades of Grey into the most expensive, and scantily-clad, soap-opera episode ever.” — Gregory Wakeman, CinemaBlend
8. “The movie adaptation of the smash-hit S&M novel is less tawdry than some are probably hoping, but there is plenty to like about it nonetheless.” — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
More: Jamie Dornan’s sex dungeon experience sounds so dirty
9. “Neither the book nor the film has the guts — or perhaps the brains — to acknowledge Anastasia’s basest desire: money. Whenever she’s unsure about taking another beating, Grey buys her a car or shows her his enormous helicopter. It works, too. Now, that’s the true meaning of domination.” — Rafer Guzman, Newsday
10. “Not exactly whip-smart, but this hotly anticipated bondage-porn romance is in many ways a significant improvement on E.L. James’ novel.” — Justin Chang, Variety
11. “If Hollywood still has doubts about whether women can dominate at the box office, the steamy — if occasionally stilted — adaptation of E.L. James’ S&M romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey should push them aside permanently.” Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
As of when this article was written, the movie had a 62 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, which is not bad at all, especially when you consider that Jupiter Ascending has a 22 percent score and Seventh Son has a 10 percent score. Twilight, which is where Fifty Shades got its story line inspiration, has a 48 percent score.