Fifty Shades of Grey

Erica Wong
2015 Miss Narcissus Queen, Hawaii State Ballet teacher, UH civil engineering student

Where and with whom did you see the movie?

My good friend Robby Oda, whom I’ve known since middle school, accompanied me to watch Fifty Shades of Grey at Ward Stadium 16.


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Erica Wong

Overall, what did you think?

The movie certainly holds up to its steamy end of the bargain, with flickers of humor. The use of light, camera movement, color, wardrobe and particularly music shape the film. Although the tone of the movie is intense, there is a predictability and redundancy in the script and plot, which leads one to wonder how a movie with a good number of explicit scenes could become numbing.

Without giving away the ending, what was one of your favorite scenes?

To my surprise, one of my favorite scenes was one that broke the pervasive intensity of the film. During this short moment, Frank Sinatra filled the air with his song Bewitched, and the two main characters began dancing. Perhaps, as a dancer, I’m partial toward anything having to do with dance, but it was in this moment that the lighter chemistry between the characters came out, and the dominant versus submissive relationship between them transferred over into their dancing, when the male always leads.

On a scale of one to four stars, what would you rate this film?

I would give this film ★★. The making of the film was worthy, but the slow plot and predictable script held back the film from shining. There were moments where I knew word-for-word what the character was about to say – without having read the book.

What did you think of the cinematography?

I enjoyed the use of light, color, camera placement and camera movement in the film. Actor Jamie Dornan, who played Christian Grey, was fortunate in that the way the camera fixed and moved on him created an intenseness that allowed the viewer to see him through the eyes of an inexperienced college student. With his gray, sleek image of ultimate control and power contrasting with the pops of color and red light in the sets, his role as dominant was highlighted visually throughout the film.

Was the message/theme clear?

Dominant versus submissive; changing for love versus acceptance; control versus freedom. To say that Fifty Shades of Grey is just about sex and bondage would not do the story justice. Sure, there is lots of sex and constant use of bondage restraints and things like that, so I understand why people jump to that conclusion. But, although I found the numerous explicit scenes a bit exhaustive, the constant struggle for control and freedom in a dominant versus submissive relationship between the two main characters was the ultimate, clear theme.

Did it remind you of any other works of film?

This film strongly reminded me of the Twilight movie series. The predictability and priority placed on humoring the audience reminded me of my experience watching Eclipse.

Did any of the actors stand out?

Dakota Johnson’s portrayal of Anastasia is innocent and well-thought. The transformation she makes from the vulnerable, inexperienced and oblivious college student to passionate and confident woman is smooth and clear. Although watching her become quickly attached to Dornan’s manipulative Grey is unnerving, her down-to-earth presence kept me empathic throughout the film. I am pleased to discover an actress who I previously had never seen.

Did you identify with any of the characters?

I didn’t identify strongly with any one particular character. Rather, I identified with the relationship the main character had with her roommate in the beginning of the movie, for their chemistry reminded me of one of my closest friends who also was my roommate.

Did the soundtrack contribute significantly to the film?

The soundtrack made the film! From the moment the opening scene began, the sensual, suave, sizzling sounds gave the film a mod tone and added significantly to the characters’ development. My favorite use of music was when Beyonce’s voice blasted in with a remix of Crazy in Love.

On a different note, what’s new with you?

I’m very much looking forward to visiting the cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Suzhou and Wuzhen with president-elect Eddie Flores Jr. and the beautiful 2015 Narcissus princesses as part of Chinese Chamber of Commerce’s annual Goodwill Tour. Join us in June for a 13-day VIP tour to China with fabulous food and sights! Call Chinese Chamber of Commerce at 533-3181 for more information.