For the Record I had a very different take on Dornan’s performance. My personal review is as follows:
Jamie Dornan is really hot and me and I enjoyed looking at him for two hours. PERIOD!!
Unless you’ve been living under a well-insulated rock with no connection to the internet, you’ve no doubt heard that critics were not too kind to Fifty Shades of Grey. While a couple of people had some thoughts about Dakota Johnson’s incessant lip-biting, the focus was on poor Jamie Dornan who has been called everything from “Hobbit-faced” (unnecessary! and untrue!) to a “young Colin Firth on tranquilizers”, here’s the worst of the worst when it comes to Mr. Grey’s reviews:
“[Dakota Johnson’s] performance is particularly impressive because she has to act opposite an inanimate block of wood. I’m told Jamie Dornan isn’t bad in the BBC Gillian Anderson series The Fall, so perhaps it’s not fair to blame him for being unable to breathe much life into the deflated balloon of his own character, but regardless, this is the sort of situation where you feel like congratulating the guy simply for not stumbling over furniture or breaking any of the props on set.”
“With his fluffed-up hair and pert, pretty little face, Dornan’s Grey looks more like a natural bottom than a top. He’s a bantamweight. Although I did grow to appreciate his modest, unshowy acting, it’s clear he’s not sending much heat her way and that she’s having to work herself up in a vacuum — at a cost to her psyche, judging from her glassy, PTSD demeanor in television interviews.”
New York Times:
“Mr. Dornan, given the job of inspiring lust, fascination and also maybe a tiny, thrilling frisson of fear, succeeds mainly in eliciting pity. In print, Christian is a blur and a blank — a screen onto which any given reader can project a customized masculine ideal. On the screen, he risks becoming just some guy, which is how Mr. Dornan plays him, without mischief or mystery. ”
Dakota Johnson plays the virginal Anastasia Steele, an innocent student sent to interview Hobbit-faced billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), who winds up being lured into his purpose-built dungeon of love.
A number of other scenes are equally funny but played straight-faced, more by Johnson, who spends most of the film gnawing her lower lip, than by Dornan, whose “dominant” couldn’t be any more self-conscious or malleable; he seems to be forever apologizing for his fetish.
The Diva Review:
I know he was down a list of about a billion young actors who wisely ran in the other direction when offered this role, but Jamie Dornan does himself no favours playing much-fantasied Mr. Grey. Maybe I’m just not hip to what makes a romantic lead these days, but past that first awkward meeting with Ana, this fellow had all the charisma and magnetism of oatmeal.
But Dornan, despite his exemplary turn in The Fall, is utterly lacking in the fierce intensity this role requires. It doesn’t help that the Irish actor can manage only an intermittent approximation of an American accent. His native brogue is evident in the very first scene, and try as he might to choke it down, it keeps coming back up, like an elocutionary hairball.
Photos: Courtesy of Universal, WMagazine, Reuters