“Fifty Shades of Grey” Review

February 13, 2015 1:21 AM

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If the figures are correct, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James, has been bought by more than a hundred million people, of whom only twenty million were under the impression that it was a paint catalogue. That leaves a solid eighty million or so who, upon reading sentences such as “He strokes his chin thoughtfully with his long, skilled fingers,” had to lie down for a while and let the creamy waves of ecstasy subside. Now, after an enticing buildup, which took to extreme lengths the art of the peekaboo, the film of the book is here.

Nothing has exercised the novel’s devotees—the Jamesians, as we must think of them—quite as much as the proper occupants of the central roles. Who could conceivably play Christian Grey, the awkward young billionaire with the extensive neckwear collection, let alone Anastasia Steele, the English-lit ...

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