Support 100 years of independent journalism.

25 July 2014

A step-by-step breakdown of the terrible, unsexy trailer for 50 Shades of Grey

It's sure to be the smash hit of the summer, in 2012.

By Eleanor Margolis

I haven’t read 50 Shades Of Grey. To be perfectly honest, I probably never will. And, unless there’s a drinking game involved, I’m not going to see the film, the trailer of which was released this week. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a “highly anticipated” advert, but apparently this was one. It’s also about as much 50SOG as I’m ever going to inflict upon myself. If you also watched it and found yourself thinking (as I did), “you know what’s missing here? A running commentary from a lesbian,” then you should carry on reading. If you haven’t seen it yet, and if trailer spoilers are a thing now, consider yourself alerted to those that follow. (You can watch it above, though.)

It begins with some slightly menacing, plinky-plonky piano music. The kind you might hear before, via voiceover, a female lead says something like, “Fall used to be my favourite season…” Then there’s a woman. Yay. She’s in her early twenties, but for some reason dressed like Mrs Doyle from Father Ted. She looks a bit like Zooey Deschannel, but more worried. I think the look they were going for is known in the fashion industry as “has never touched herself”.

She’s come to a posh building to interview someone. So, initially, I assume that she’s a journalist. This is great because, as soon as a sculptural receptionist tells her “Mr Grey will see you now” I imagine an alternate universe where the heroine is Camilla Long. She harshly and hilariously rips it out of Christian Grey in her Sunday Times Style Weekly Sneer, everyone laughs at him, and thus ends 50 Shades Of Grey. Forever.

But, sadly, the bare minimum of 50SOG research tells me that she’s actually a literature student. Never mind.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

In our first glimpse of the erm… enigmatic (is that what we’re supposed to think?) Christian Grey, he has his back to the camera. He’s gazing out of his fat glass office, over the city, in that brooding “I’m a middle class white man and my father was slightly aloof throughout my childhood” way.

Content from our partners
How to create a responsible form of “buy now, pay later”
“Unions are helping improve conditions for drivers like me”
Transport is the core of levelling up

Our heroine (who I’m going to call “Blue Cardigan”) tries to ask him some questions, but she sounds like she’s about to burst into tears. Because everyone knows that pretty girls in their twenties can’t leave the house without having an emotional breakdown in some twat’s office. Plus, she probably has her period. She’s probably perioding all over Christian Grey’s expensive white leather chair.

And anyway, Christian Grey doesn’t want to do an interview.

“I’d like to know more about you,” he says to Blue Cardigan in what may be the slimiest moment in cinema, since that thing with the pink gunge in Ghostbusters II.

(Oh, by the way, am I supposed to comment on Christian Grey’s face and stuff? He has brown hair.)

Anyway, in response to his Argos Catalogue chat-up line, Blue Cardigan, who’s been nothing but self-deprecating for a whole forty seconds now, says, “There’s really not much to know about me.” Of course there’s stuff to know about you, Blue Cardigan. Tell him about that time you had a bit of spliff and it “did nothing for you”.

Ominous orchestral swell. Cut to montage of Blue cardigan and CG bonding in the spooky way that people bond in the lead-up one becoming the other’s sex slave. They go for a walk in a forest, for instance. Oh, now they’re kissing up against a wall. How eighties. Now he’s draped over a grand piano, and she’s drifting towards him in a white duvet like a narcoleptic Miss Havisham.

“You should steer clear of me,” warns CG. Then it’s raining and he’s jogging in a grey hoodie and looking like a nihilistic, fitness freak monk. His dad must’ve been really aloof when he was a kid.

Now his tits are out. That’s what straight women everywhere have been waiting for, right? He’s topless and has lots of muscles. He looks shitting furious.

There’s some filler footage of CG and Blue Cardigan larking about on a plane (that he’s flying, natch) before he leads her into his Ann Summers S&M dungeon. Oh, by the way, this is all soundtracked by a heinously theatrical version of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love”. Blue Cardigan is tied up, blindfolded and having her (first ever…?) orgasm. Ends.

If this is women’s sexual liberation, send me back to prison please.