Short Term 12 Review: A Powerfully Emotional Drama Fueled By Outstanding Talent

Short Term 12Director: Destin Daniel Crettin

Staring: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr, Keith Stanfield, Kaitlyn Dever

Running Time: 1 hour 37 mins

Release Date: August 23rd 2013

When a film’s narrative is so wonderfully deep, it takes a soft touch to weave a visual display of human emotion that’s suitable for an eager audience to engage with and Destin Daniel Crettin‘s 2013 independent flick Short Term 12 is a near flawless example of such cinematic excellence. Both written and directed by Crettin, Short Term 12 tells the story of Grace, a twenty-something supervisor, working in a residential home for troubled youngsters. The superb Brie Larson plays Grace, as she attempts to navigate her way through her own darkened past, comes to terms with the current state of her relationship and continues to ensure a safe and secure environment for the kids in her care.


From the very beginning of Short Term 12, the level of acting talent is truly outstanding. Crettin has enlisted performers that not only gel into a sublime ensemble cast but also prove to be standout talents individually. Brie Larson is a genuine beacon of talent. Her screen presence is one of a subtle nature, yet she stands out like fire. Proving herself to be a fine comedic actress in the likes of 21 JUMP STREET, it was wholly refreshing to find her playing a character with such depth and emotional vulnerability.

As audiences learn more about Grace and her own world, they find themselves falling deeper into her psychosis and learn to interpret her subtly self-destructive behaviour. As the drama creeps in, there is no overtly dramatic reveal of Grace’s secret, her past is a part of her and so it becomes a part of those watching; something that stays with you long after the film ends. The entire theme of subtle drama from Crettin is so skilfully used that it makes the few crushingly dramatic outburst so emotional effecting for the viewer; that it can be hugely difficult to watch but so magnificently done.


Along side Larson, John Gallagher Jr. plays Grace’s boyfriend and adds a much needed comedic aspect to this beautifully serious film. With the help of Crettin’s smart and quick script, Gallagher delivers brilliant dialogue with ease and bite. It’s snappy and electric, helping not only to ease it’s audience into the story at hand but also build up a clever and telling backstory to these new, wonderful characters. Together, Larson and Gallagher make sweet and natural duo.

Young talent reaches new heights however, with the raw and shockingly open performances from Keith Stanfield and Kaitlyn Dever. Both prove to be utterly enigmatic and take on these troubled characters with real bravery and commitment. Stanfield in particular takes on the supporting role of formerly abused Marcus and closely becomes an overshadowing presence on screen. One scene in particular is positively goose-bump inducing; as audiences get a horrifying glimpse into Marcus’ home life when he showcases his talent as a young lyricist.


Visually, Crettin plays the game exceptionally smart. With the slight saturation of natural light, Shot Term 12 immediately has that familiar feel of a great independent realist film; something that doesn’t disappoint as the narrative grows. The cinematography favours neat, tight close-ups of the everyday; something that not only engulfs the audience in the facilities surroundings and the simplicity of human nature but connotes the claustrophobic minds and lives of it’s inhabitants.

The brilliance in the under-dramatic is profound and touching, mimicking reality with ease and beauty; leading to optimum emotional effect. Crettin has created a rare gem in cinema that not only taps into the deepest and darkest social horrors but also comes off as gloriously heart-warming and crushingly beautiful.


The Women of Mad Max and Their Infinite Glory



Being a film lover and avid feminist, great women in film have always fascinated me; both in front of the camera of behind it. Directors like Ava DuVernay and Kathryn Bigelow, actresses like Natalie Dormer and Angelina Jolie and characters like Thelma & Louise all fueling my love for strong women.

When I bagged a place at the press screening for George Miller‘s semi-reboot of his cult-classic Mad Max series, Mad Max: Fury Road, I was exceptionally excited to bask in the glory of one of my favourite actors to watch, Tom Hardy, and revel in the visual excellence the trailers so eagerly promised. When I walked into the theatre, I expected an all consuming action-adventure with a masterful level of style and aesthetic. I was not dissapointed. The film was beautiful, the action was relentless and Hardy’s performance as the strong but silent Max was bang on.

Still, I got far more than I bargained for in the way of female strength and presence, something that, to my surprise and delight, totally eclipsed the rest of the cast and production. At a superficial glance, Mad Max looks like your standard, stereotypical boys flick; but Miller skillfully creates a smorgasbord of genuinely strong and smart women that are both visually compelling in costume and make up, as well as complex in character and emotion.

Mad Max 2

Mad Max: Fury Road tells the post-apocalyptic story of Earth gone mad. With water practically non-existent and gasoline worryingly scarce; a physically grotesque and morally corrupt Immortan Joe rules over the majority of the worlds remaining inhabitants with an iron fist. With Tom Hardy’s Max finding himself blurring the lines of lucid and insane, he roams the desert with his aim of survival interrupted by just the crazed visions of his disturbed past.

When Max finds himself at the hands of Immortan Joe’s ruthless gang, working as a human blood bank for warrior Nux, played by Nicholas Hoult; he soon gets caught up in one of the most high-octane car chases in cinema, as a group of women desperately try to escape their captors and return to land of promise and freedom.

While Charlize Theron‘s character, Imperator Furiosa, heads up the escaping War Rig; her hidden companions come in the form of Immortan Joe’s ‘wives’, five beautiful women who are kept captured for the sole purpose of breeding perfect, healthy children. Played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoe Kravitz, Courtney Eaton and Abby Lee each play the imprisoned women and represent a varied range of fear, strength, softness and power.


With their only purpose is to bear Immortan Joe with a healthy heir, two are known to be pregnant already; with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Splendid obviously heavily pregnant. Miller takes this forced upon state for Splendid and uses it as a position of power. Splendid uses her own body and pregnancy to protect herself and the others from Joe and the War Boys.

In one particular scene, just as the War Rig is set to be blast apart, Splendid thrusts her pregnant belly out of the moving vehicle, being held by the other Wives; as Immortan Joe quickly ceases fire and screams in rage. This play in power of both mentality and physical state is a joyfully ironic knock to Immortan Joe’s claim of possession, making for an iconic moment in the film’s narrative.


As the other Wives and wonderfully strong women one meets along the way continue to flaunt their newly found determination, it is Charlize Theron’s Furiosa that carves out a revolutionary character for the representation of women in action films. Some have criticized that Furiosa’s character loses her feminist pull due to the glorification of violence and “girls can fight like boys” mentality, claiming that it is used as a cheap gimmick.

However, I can’t help but feel compelled by the brilliance of Theron’s performance and although yes, violence and brute force is an aspect of Furiosa’s journey; there is so much more to her character and development. There is a raw and impressive necessity to the violence that occurs. It is the strength of survival and humbling desperation and redemption that stops Furiosa from being the token bad girl.

There are moments of crushing vulnerability that juxtapose so wonderfully with the initial portrayal of impenetrable strength. She’s multi-layered and deep, without being dramatic or brash. There is an honest sense of realness and the idea of a lost sense of humanity is rebuked with her genuine care and selfless behaviour. Not once is she overtly sexualised, her appearance has been altered to defy the impossible, crushing beauty standards of contemporary living and yet she is beautiful in her actions and beliefs.


 Miller truly does create a beautiful film; from the sophisticated cinematography, the exquisite make-up and costume and the stunning detail in each scene. However, it is the reoccurring themes of female empowerment that eclipse the films core aesthetic and narrative. With Miller unofficially confirming more Mad Max in the future, I can only hope that Furiosa and more complex female characters will join him.

Just 10 more ml..

My wonderful friend has a blog about being a first time mum to a little premature cutie pie called Malakai. I adore them both very much and would absolutely recommend their blog to anybody else in the same position. Check them out!


Malakai came in to this world at 12:57pm on a bright Wednesday afternoon. By 5pm although I hadn’t delivered him naturally I was shocked by the intensity of a Caesarian and how much it takes out of you physically. All I wanted to do was see my baby, I had only seen him in a photo that my partner took when he was born and then I got a glimpse of him when he left theatre in an incubator 2 mins later.. The nurse informed me that I wasn’t able to see him until I could feel my legs again from the spinal as I needed to be able to get in and out of the wheelchair by myself. Of course I lied and said I could feel my legs, truth be told I could barely wiggle my toes!..but, as soon as I could, I made sure she saw, thinking…

View original post 1,232 more words

Mental Health Awareness Week: Practice What You Preach

Mental HealthThis week is mental health awareness week and instead of preaching my usual spiel of being honest about your own mental health and promoting speaking about it; I thought it’s about time I womaned up and shared my own story.

I have had treatment and continue to take medication for an anxiety and depression disorder and OCD behaviour. I always knew that the way my brain functioned was not healthy and felt a difference compared to my peers. Since my early teenage years I would find it difficult to relax my mind, understand the difference between rational and irrational thinking and i found it impossible to stray away for routines and coping mechanism. It’s only with growth and age that I understand why my mind works fairly differently but from the age thirteen to eighteen, I generally just thought I was broken.

Despite constant worries and fears, and with an enormous help from my ridiculously patient parents, I stumbled my way through school and college; missing out of a number of important rights of passage and experiences due to my terror of straying from my comfort zone. For years I would dodge the cinema (quite ridiculous for a future Film Journalist), avoid staying at friends house and refuse to travel abroad.

While I wasn’t unhappy, I was awfully constrained and spent the majority of my time lying to friends and family in order to avoid explaining my actions and avoidances.

My life and relationship with mental health completely changed however, when my friends and I decided to take a trip to Newquay to enjoy a week of sun before they received their A-Level results. Despite that screaming voice in my head that I wouldn’t cope, I feigned enthusiasm and agreed to go. Ignorance really is bliss and when those creeping anxious thoughts filled my brain I swatted them away and pretending everything was fine, and to my surprise; it actually was.

I left that morning with worrying glances to my parents but once out the door I was fine, the six hour train journey was a breeze and when we rocked up to our cute little beach house, it was all gravy. Until the next morning when I woke up in the early hours, with the desperate and feverish need to run. My friend slept beside me and without waking her, I crept to the bathroom and violently vomited. When my throat was raw, I crawled down the stairs and curled up by the front door, hysterically crying, frantically calling my poor mum, begging her to come and pick me up.

This morning ritual continued throughout the week, unknown to my sweet friends. My brain literally couldn’t handle the difference in my surroundings, the change in my routine and having no understanding of my condition at the time, I literally thought I was going insane. I barely slept, I refused to eat and couldn’t face leaving the house at night. Somehow, despite the dangerous and terrifying thoughts running through my fragile mind, I made it to the end of the week and can now look back at some fond memories of spending time at the beach with wonderful people.


Life had changed though and when returning home, both my parents and I knew that something had to change. I went to the doctors and was given antidepressants and put on a waiting list for a therapy consultation. Something inside me had broken and I couldn’t understand why, I was completely overcome by the darkest of thoughts and when thinking about my future; I simply couldn’t imagine one. I had reached a point of completely misunderstanding my own mental health and couldn’t imagine my life without constant irrational fear and crumbling dread.

I decided to plan my own suicide. I wrote a letter to my family and I collected the medication I was given. After a few days of turmoil and barricading myself in my room, I am fiercely grateful that I found the strength to change my mind and stop. It is the best decision I have ever made. My entire life completely changed from that moment as I threw myself into understanding my own brain and the way it worked.

I’ve just turned twenty four and in the six years since there have been plenty of successes, downfalls and setbacks. I moved away from home, started university, moved back home, graduated and worked. I have had two lots of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) which had without a doubt saved my life numerous times, teaching my how to cope and understand my anxiety and compulsions. I still continue to struggle with my anxiety and while I have achieved more than I thought possible, there is so much I need to work on.

There are so many charities that want to help and support those with mental health difficulties, specifically Mind who have supported me throughout my experience. The best way to end the stigma behind mental health is to normalise it and be open.

10 British Films That Changed Everything


With Hollywood blockbusters often dominating the big screen, raking in those record breaking profits and generally providing an all matter of entertainment, it can be all too easy to forget about home-grown talent and the brilliance in the humble British film.

In the last decade alone, British cinema has opened up to the masses, reaching a worldwide audience that thrives off of its raw and honest conventions. The variety one finds within British cinema is what makes it stand out from other forms of visual art, leaving it to rule the independent film sector, while slowly taking over mainstream cinema.

With big players like Edgar Wright and Danny Boyle paving the way for a Brit-style takeover, British cinema isn’t afraid to push the boundaries of explicit violence, fierce love and charmingly traditional humour. Whether it’s a director, cinematographer, source material or location; the talent within British film is only growing and when done right, a Brit film can bring out a whole new perspective on cinema.

This being said, whittling down the list to a mere ten wasn’t an easy task and there’s no doubt the next wave of British film makers have some serious keeping up to do. So, don your tweed hats and make up a builder’s brew; here are the 10 British films that changed everything.

10. The Full Monty


Peter Cattaneo’s surprise hit of 1997 attempted to destroy the preconceived notions of Britain’s class system in the most hilariously charming way. Telling the story of six unemployed steel workers who turn to male stripping to earn some cash, The Full Monty mixed a traditionally gritty way of shooting with a quintessential British humour that made for a heartwarming and cheeky story of men getting their kit off.

With a script from the supremely talented Simon Beaufoy, The Full Monty was wonderfully successful in tackling class and poverty issues in a subtly hard hitting way, using down to earth humor to sooth its audience into pondering the lengths those will go in order to support their families.

With great performances from the likes of Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson and Mark Addy, The Full Monty looked at male friendship and nudity in a refreshingly new way, attempting to open up a fairly cosmopolitan humor for working class men.

The sheer diversity in characters was also impressive, with men of working class background, middle class men, family men and gay men all being fairly and charmingly represented. The Fully Monty left audiences feeling part of a wider. if not slightly less-clothed, family.

Not to mention the famous last scene, where the brave boys agreed to do one take of the true Full Monty, removing all their clothes in the last strip sequence; proving that a bare arse is still something to be laughed at.

9. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels


Guy Richie’s unique style of film making is one that has seemingly carved him out to be a pioneer for British directors, rocketing him into the world of mainstream cinema with universal hits like Sherlock Holmes and his up and coming Knights of The Round Table flick.

Still, before he began telling stories of legends and mastermind detectives, Richie indulged in a brilliant mix of laddish humor and tough-man violence to create a sub-genre of Brit-Grit that shot him to auteur standards. His 1998 gangster romp Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels mixed weed, firearms, thugs and a hell of a lot of cash to weave a cracking back-street London adventure!

There’s something profoundly whimsical about Richie’s standout flick, paving the way for the London gangster genre that has been so eagerly repeated over the years. With career blooming performances from hard men Jason Statham, Jason Flemyng and Vinnie Jones; Lock Stock is a recognisably British movie, with follow up flicks like Snatch and RocknRolla continuing to improve Richie’s trademark style.

8. A Clockwork Orange


Despite director Stanley Kubrick having been born across the pond, his 1971 mind-bending movie is an adaptation of Brit born Anthony Burgess’ novel about a futuristic Britain. With intentions of saving the UK’s crime problem, the government gets charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge to volunteer for an experimental aversion therapy. What followed is a shocking visual journey of sheer horror and absolute debauchery; all neatly wrapped up in a spectacularly shot realist style nightmare.

This wonderfully twisted film caused quite the social outcry and helped change the way violence in British films was shown.Some of the most shocking scenes in cinema reside within its narrative, from a horrific home invasion to scenes of gang rape and physical torture; ensuring that A Clock Work Orange truly pushed the boundaries of socially acceptable viewing.

The incredible Michael McDowell played the central character in this dystopian horror and received exceptional critical acclaim for his efforts. The script is still something that major movie buffs find themselves quoting, with “the old in-out” being a particularly um- charming expression.

7. Secrets & Lies

Secrets and lies

Mike Leigh’s bitter sweet story of family is one that packs an emotional punch in such a subtle way. Being one of Leigh’s first films that set him apart from other British film makers, the flick told the story of successful black woman, Hortense, who seeks to find her birth mother, tracking her down as working class white woman, Cynthia.

The two women clash as Cynthia denies her maternal responsibility, leading them both to learn some harsh truths about their families. With wonderful performances from the likes of Timothy Spall, Phyllis Logan, Brenda Blethyn, Clair Rushbrook and Marianne Jean-Baptiste; Secrets & Lies really did have a smorgasbord of British talent at its very core.

While there are indeed secrets and lies held within the narrative of Leigh’s film, it’s the simplicity of the story that truly marks its importance within the British film movement.The beauty of family, in all its diversity and trauma is something that Leigh so skillfully marked out for British cinema; creating a wave of nostalgia weaved within everyday delights.

6. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone


Who knew back in 2001 that this movie would be the start of one of Britain’s biggest film franchises, with the entire seven movies raking in a whopping $10 billion at the global box office.

It all started when fresh faced Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson bagged the roles of Harry, Ron and Hermione in the adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s magical novel. Kids and adults around the globe became instantly enthralled by the wizarding world of Hogwarts and the adventure of Harry Potter- the boy who lived.

While British cinema had toyed with the fantasy genre before, under Chris Columbus’ helm, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone blew it wide open for contemporary viewers. It took the essential codes and conventions for your typical British kid flick and married them with an outrageous sense of wonderment to create a hit.

The films have since gone on to create an entire world of fandom; making serious money from theme parks, merchandise, DVD packages and not forgetting the good old books. Wait- do kids still read?

5. Trainspotting


Cinema doesn’t get much grittier than Danny Boyle’s 1996 drug fueled romp; which paved the way for some unbelievably honest and shocking realism in a  hostile and dangerous setting. Adapted from the Irvine Welsh novel, Trainspotting tells the story of heroine addict Renton who, despite the allure of his toxic friends and hard core drugs, desperately tries to clean up his act and give up the drugs for good.

Performances from the likes of Ewan McGregor are so outstanding that you can go from hysterical laughter to feeling cripplingly uncomfortable in a matter of mere moments. The sheer honesty of such issues as the comedowns and the casualties of these drug habits are explored with perfection thanks to Boyle.

Not only did the general narrative open up British cinema’s wonderful potential, but the sophistication of the cinematography was great also. With Brian Tufano creating suitably trippy art through cinematography, audiences are pulled into this sinking world of drug addiction; proving that gritty narrative can also be some visually amazing too.

4. 28 Days Later


The zombie genre has blow up as of late but it was over ten years ago that Boyle expanded the world of Brit zombie flicks in this post-apocalyptic world of flesh eating madness! Cillian Murphy wakes up in a hospital bed only to find that a mysterious, incurable virus has spread across the UK, leaving its victims hankering for an arm or two.

Boyle really knows how to pick his creative team as again his style of shooting is second to none; with cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle assisting in the remarkably realist visual effects. Boyle’s zombie nightmare did so well in pacing it’s narrative, exploiting the audiences’ fears in order to ensure their film making is at its most effective.

Having taken this primarily Hollywood genre, Boyle opened the door for other Brit filmmakers, ensuring them that flesh eating isn’t just for mainstream cinema. If anything, the gritty traditions that come with British film often enhance the true horror of the genre.

3. Four Weddings And A Funeral


Is there anybody more British than Hugh Grant? Along with director Mike Newell, that floppy haired gent set to create a new wave of 90’s romantic comedies. Staring alongside token American Andie McDowell, Grant plays a committed bachelor who, over the course of five social occasions, must come to terms with the fact that he has fallen in love.

This winning formula has gone on to inspire a whole heap of romantic comedies and Grant himself became the go-to bloke for the bumbling Brit who falls in love with an American girl. Films like Notting Hill, Micky Blue Eyes and Two Weeks Notice have helped marked out Grant’s career as the Rom-Com King.

The mix of Grant’s charm and the traditional British sense of humor made for a winning formula that continues to inspire, not only Brit films, but American romantic comedies also.

2. Shaun Of The Dead


Edgar Wright has quickly become a pioneer for contemporary British comedy and this 2004 flick helped open up a brilliant, semi-parody genre of comedy that has seemingly engulfed the entertainment sector in the last ten years.

With his faithful duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost by his side, Wright weaves a hilarious zombie apocalypse movie that tells the story of Shaun, your everyday man who decides to win back his long-suffering girlfriend but is rudely interrupted by a zombie invasion. With his best friend Ed, Shaun goes on a mission to push past the neck biters and gather his loved ones to hit the pub and “wait for it to all blow over”.

Wright’s mix of mild yet genuine horror and slick, contemporary humour spoke to a younger fan base but had enough narrative pull to bring in a wider audience of flesh eating fans. Wright has taken this sub-genre and run with it, toting Pegg and Frost with him, and made the ‘Cornetto Trilogy’; including Shaun of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The Worlds End.

1. This Is England


Shane Meadow’s incredible, emotional drama blew fans away with this shocking story about troubled youngster, Shaun, growing up in 1983 England. When Shaun comes across a few skinheads, he quickly forms an unlikely but genuine friendship but when the extreme Combo returns from prison and joins in on the fun, Shaun’s life takes a dramatic and dangerous turn.

While the film its so beautifully shot and bravely executed, it takes its place as a truly iconic moment in the development of the British film industry thanks to the honesty of its narrative subject and the wonderfully cathartic way in which Meadows approaches his work.

Based loosely on Meadows own experiences; the film takes a honest look at racism, class issues and social conventions of British life in 1983. Young star Thomas Turgoose gives an outstanding performance as Shaun, while joined by the likes of Stephen Graham, who took such a difficult role and made him so multi-layered.It is so rare that a film with such violence and disturbing content can reach such a wide audience, with Meadows helping put contemporary, edgy British cinema on the map.

10 Reasons Charlie Hunnam’s Glad He Ditched ’50 Shades of Grey’


Despite some scathing critic reviews Sam Taylor-Johnson’s kinky adaptation of E.L James’ novel, 50 Shades of Grey, went on to rake over $500 million at the box office and seemingly fulfilled the fantasies of the book’s many faithful fans. 50 Shades see’s young, wannabe journalist Anastasia Steele enter a world of sexual submissiveness when she meets the hunky Christian Grey; a wealthy, handsome and down-right dirty dominant. Miss Steele then enters his word of sexual exploration; taking a riding crop or two with her.

With Mr. Grey’s character being a real fan favourite for the book’s hard-core readers; casting for the film adaptation needed to be spot on and The Fall’s Jamie Dornan bagged the role opposite Dakota Johnson. Still, the sultry Dornan wasn’t the studio’s first choice to play the dominant sex-god; that honour went to none other than Son’s of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam.

Yep, before Dornan donned the famous Grey tie; Hunnam was up for the job and for a while, it looked as if he was very much ready to step into the slightly twisted role of Christian Grey. Back in 2013, it was made public knowledge that Hunnam would be joining Johnson for the steamy flick but rumors soon started circulating about his hesitancy to sign the dotted line. It’s been no secret that producer Dana Brunetti was against Hunnam taking the role, even going as far as responding to the online petition against Hunnam as Mr. Grey from fans on social media; so it was becoming more and more unlikely for Hunnam to commit to the project.

When the news broke that Hunnam was to decline the offer, his representatives used the old “busy TV schedule” line as an excuse but considering some of the backlash 50 Shades has since come up against; has he dodged a serious bullet? Although we’re sure Hunnam may wince every time he hears those whopping paychecks Johnson and Dornan are taking for each film; NOT becoming Mr. Grey might just have been one of his best career moves and here’s ten reasons why!

10. The God-Awful Script

50 Shades1It’s fair to say that E.L.James’ novel doesn’t have the best reputation as an example of written excellence so you’d be forgiven for being a little skeptical about a script version.

A sense of hope still lingered when news broke that Focus Features was looking for a topnotch writer to pen the adaptation and when Kelly Marcel bagged the job, things continued to look up. While Marcel is a fairy new writer, she received generally positive praise for her screenplay of John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr.Banks, staring Tom Hanks; so one would imagine the 50 Shades origional material would be getting a boost in quality.

Maybe not because the script, especially dialogue, was pretty questionable. You can argue that the cheesy, cringy and creepy one-liners from Mr.Grey worked in book form because readers were hearing it through their own fantasies; the same cannot be said for the film script. Lines like “Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia”, “I don’t make love…I fuck, hard” and “There’s really not much to know about me. Look at me”; just sum up some of the drivel that Hunnam would have had to speak and hear.

Having worked on the likes of Pacific Rim, Sons of Anarchy and the up and coming Crimson Peak flick; Hunnam is used to a certain caliber of script, having read dialogue from the likes of Travis Beacham and Guillermo Del Toro; so you’d be forgiven for being pretty relieved not having to hear those words come out of his talented mouth.

9. Audience Backlash

Domestic ViolenceWith the film being made on a $40 million budget and taking over $85 million it just it’s opening weekend, many book fan and curious film lover took to the theatre to check out what the adaptation had to offer and despite it all, the flick bagged itself some fans

Still, that doesn’t take away the fact that the movie only received an overall rating of just 25% on Rotten Tomatoes and gained a huge backlash from a hoard of gender equality and domestic violence charities. With the general narrative blurring the lines of pain and pleasure and exploring the control aspects of a sub/dom relationship, many domestic abuse charities found the film to be glorifying violence against women and claimed Mr.Grey was an abusive partner.

Many campaigners took to social media to urge a boycott of the film, pleading with cinema goers to donate to their local women’s shelter rather than shell out to see the movie. Charity groups such as Us National Center of Sexual Exploitation, Canada’s London Abuse Women Center and Stop Porn Culture were all behind the #50dollarsnot50shades which gained 4600 ‘likes’ on Facebook when initially written.

Whether you agree with the allegations of glorifying domestic abuse or not, it’s not exactly something you want attached to your name and with the current Mr.Grey personally getting some backlash from audiences; Hunnam may have just saved himself a lot of controversial grief.

8. Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Directing


Sam Taylor-Johnson isn’t the most well known director but when she helmed the 2009 flick Nowhere Boy, staring Aaron Taylor-Johnson (her now husband), telling the story of young John Lennon; she ended up getting decent recognition from critics and audiences alike.

Her style of filmmaking mixed a cool kind of contemporary cinematography with a sense of nostalgia in the subject matter that helped put her name on the map for good British directors. Nowhere Boy was visually great, so when news broke that Taylor-Johnson was to helm 50 Shades; fans let out a sigh of relief that the flick was in good hands. Yeah, not so much.

Seriously, Taylor-Johnson; what happened? With the subject matter being so controversial, one might have expected the direction to take a more edgy turn but the best way to describe Sam Taylor-Johnson’s direction is simple; lazy. She relies far too much on the sexual aspects of the movie, making it a gimmick rather than a genuine narrative point. While at times she attempts to use colour and lighting to explore and art-house style, it just makes you feel like you’re in the red light district.

With Hunnam having already worked with the likes of Del Toro, Anthony Minghella, Alfonso Cuaron and Douglas McGreth; so judging her for 50 shades alone; he’s not missed out on much by not working with Taylor-Johnson.

7. Mr Grey Being The World’s Biggest Creep


Hunnam’s mostly known for his role in Kurt Sutter’s Sons of Anarchy as Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller, a lovable rogue caught up in the drama of being part of a motorcycle club. Hunnam has that character locked down, proving that his ability to be both dangerous and desirable is second to none. Just like Mr.Grey, right?

Not so much. Hunnam’s talents would have been completely wasted on this down right creepy character. Yes, you can’t deny that a lot of men and women find Christian Grey’s character both physically attractive and deliciously dangerous but wow; he is one creepy dominant.

On more than one occasion Mr.Grey steps over the line of controlling and enters the world of psycho. One example occurs early on in the flick as, having met Anastasia just once, Christian tracks down where she works and proceeds to buy an all matter of serial killer items. Stalker much? Later on, Christian gets a drunken phone call from Dakota Johnson’s character and takes it upon himself to ‘rescue’ her, whisking her away to his hotel room, undressing her while she’s passed out and just generally being a weirdo.

If this was real life and Anastasia has met Christian on Tinder, he’d mostly likely be in jail right now. You’re too good for that Hunnam; be relieved.

6. The Red Room Of Pain


What do you keep in your spare room? Clothes you haven’t worn for years, old games console you can’t bear to  part with and maybe some exercise equipment that’s gathering up dust, right? How about a room for whips, canes and the kind of sex equipment that would make Hugh Hefner blush?

Nobody is kink-shaming anyone here but a Red Room of Pain, really? Hunnam has his fair share of admirers, ones that would no doubt like to see him a little less clothes but what’s the bet he’s pretty relieved he didn’t have to enter, let alone play the owner of, such a creepy room?

In the film, Christian eases Anastasia into the life of a submissive but when she demands to know the extent of his kinky fantasies, he introduces her to his Red Room of Pain, a room meant for punishment and pain infliction. The Red Room of Pain become a serious talking point after the film, especially considering one scene of extreme sexual violence takes place in said room.

Having your own room for torture sounds like an ideal home design for your average serial killer. There’s a good chance Hunnam ran, not walked, from this little side note in the screenplay.

5. Worst Film Ending Ever


There have been some real stinkers when it comes to bad film endings. Now You See Me, Remember Me and I Am Legend were all bad movie ending but 50 Shades really is something else. With the 50 Shades franchise still having two more books to adapt, the end for the first flick needed to leave it’s audience feeling somewhat confident on what will happen next. Apparently nobody told Sam Taylor-Johnson that.

As Christian and Anastasia struggle to come to terms with their ever changing extreme relationship, Anna decides to end it all with the dominant millionaire. As she storms away from him in a fevered rage, they repeat each others names, the elevator doors close AND that’s it.

It’s such a massive anticlimax. Give the book fans something, guys! A fight? A flashback, flash forward, ANYTHING! There’d be no surprise if audiences members didn’t share a bemused look as the titles roll because, despite it’s 125 minuets running time, it totally feels like nothing has happened and die-hard fans wouldn’t be blamed for feeling completely cheated.

4. The Awkward Sex Scenes


When you’re making a film about the exploration of fetish and dominance, there’s a good chance you’re going to have to get up close and personal with your co-stars and while Charlie Hunnam’s no stranger to a steamy scene or two; the cheap way in which sex is used a narrative tool makes Striptease look classy.

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson and seriously attractive people, there’s no getting around it and seeing them naked isn’t the worst thing to happen to your eyes but 50 Shades takes this and runs in the direction of gimmick, set to shock rather than entertain.

Even the best actors can only work with what they’re given and shocking sex scenes that go beyond the expectation of mainstream exposure don’t give them much. This cheap tactic from Taylor-Johnson leaves one feeling more awkward than aroused, something you just don’t want to associate with Dornan and Johnson, let alone good old Hunnam.

3. Having To Read The Books


With the books having a huge fan following, there must be something in their that entertains readers (sex) but in general the writing is shocking, with author E.L. James showing no real creativity or literary talent. Having adapted the books from her own Twilight fanfiction, James went full on erotica as she turned Edward and Bella into Christian and Anastasia.

While the screenplay plucked some terrible lines from the book, there are plenty that didn’t make it in. A great example being;  “I want you sore, baby,” he murmurs, and he continues his sweet, leisurely torment, backward, forward. “Every time you move tomorrow, I want you to be reminded that I’ve been here. Only me. You are mine.” Who said romance was dead?

With Hunnam getting so far into the casting process, there’s a more than good chance that he was subjected to reading the first book or the screenplay at least. With the franchise planning on making two more films, that’s two more sets of reading material to have to get through; some would say Hunnam dodged a bullet there.

2. Dakota Johnson’s Lip Biting


There’s a good chance that nobody fed Dakota Johnson on the set of 50 Shades because that girl did not stop biting her lip or nibble on some kind of phallic symbol.

While Taylor-Johnson most likely encouraged Dakota to continue munching on her own face to up the whole naive, endearing thing; it just comes across as widely annoying and insanely blatant. There was nothing subtle about Anastasia teasing a Grey pencil with her lips; because what could that possibly represent?

Unless Hunnam has watched the film, which is seriously doubtful, he should consider himself lucky that he didn’t have to stare directly at Johnson as she gnaws her way through her bottom lip and sharpens and pencil with her front teeth. Smart move, Hunnam.

1. Living With The Consequences

Esquire UK

Once you play one of the most well known contemporary literary characters for the big screen adaptation, it’s hard to ever be seen as anything else. There’s a good chance that from now on, every character Jamie Dornan goes on to play will be criticized against that of Mr.Grey. Which is a huge shame for an otherwise great actor.

With that and the general social outcries that are sure to follow with the franchise’s two sequels, Mr.Grey is a brave and difficult character to commit to; which Hunnam narrowly missed out on.

Yes, Charlie Hunnam will always be known as the guy who nearly played Christian Grey but at least he wont be the guys who actually played Christian Grey; sorry Dornan.