Pornography is to cinema as Fifty Shades of Grey is to literature, and judging from the newest released trailer, the movie adaptation successfully portrays the book’s confusing, sweat-less, parody of human sexuality. Lots of vanilla folk have been up in arms over the erotic novel’s depiction of BDSM, likening (consenting) protagonist Anastasia Steele to a victim of rape, and the movie is sure to have these critics reloading their guns. But the most offensive part of the trailer isn’t when Anastasia (played by Dakota Johnson) is handcuffed to a bed or slammed against an elevator wall hard enough to flatten the back of her head. The most offensive part of the trailer is Anastasia’s hair.
Sure, the dialogue is offensive in its stupidity and the tension is offensive in its lack of… well, in its absence. But stupidity and lack of tension aren’t enough to keep me from seeing a movie — at least not once it’s free On Demand. But if, in order to absorb just how average Anastasia is, I have to look at a half-assed flatiron job, with bad coloring and uneven bangs, I’m out. Hair is an erotic thing — where it is, where it isn’t, massaging it, pulling it, smelling it — it all plays a factor in how much blood is pumping south of the border and Anastasia’s mane brought me face to face with my own frigidity.
It’s important to acknowledge that Anastasia’s appearance plays a major role in the dynamic between her and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). She’s the young, insecure virgin who doesn’t recognize her own allure until Grey thrusts it out of her. But if the goal of Fifty Shades is to titillate the audience, it’s necessary to reverse the hands of time and stop the film’s hair and makeup artist from plopping that stiff, sexless do on Anastasia’s head like she’s a Lego person. If you want Ana to seem ordinary, assume that we’re smart enough to notice through dialogue, not dog-hair.
For those who are sex-deprived enough to think that vibrators are something you plug in, or that blow jobs involve actual blowing, the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaptation may be to them exactly what those marketing the film want it to be: sexy. For the rest of the population, if you’re looking to Fifty Shades for a dose of kink, you’ll find it nowhere but in Ana’s hair. In fact, you’re better off waiting for the DVD release and using the plastic case to spank each other.
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film Fifty Shades of Grey will premiere in theaters on February 13, 2015.