DIR: James Foley • WRI: Niall Leonard • PRO: Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, E.L. James, Marcus Viscidi • DOP: • ED: David S. Clark, Richard Francis-Bruce, Debra Neil-Fisher • MUS: Danny Elfman • DES: Nelson Coates • CAST: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Arielle Kebbel
In this final instalment of the Fifty Shades trilogy Anastasia Steele, the new Mrs. Grey, finally grows a backbone (in and out of the bedroom). Yes, the whole marketing pitch for Fifty Shades is the dominant/submissive ‘relationship’ between Christian and Anastasia, but we can’t deny that we love a strong, independent woman. While I would never put Ana Steele in the bracket of heroines we aspire to be like, it’s nice to see Christian is no longer the only ‘dom’ in the relationship; Ana is now topping from the bottom.
This film is one to watch with your girlfriends, to laugh and cringe at just how bad it is; I’m afraid it has not improved or learned from the last two bad movies. In Fifty Shades Freed we get a handful of sex scenes, to say they’re steamy would be an insult to the word, but the soundtrack that accompanies them heats things up a little. It is a mostly sultry and well chosen soundtrack performed by various artists, including Dua Lipa, Julia Michaels, Jessie J, Bishop Briggs, and Rita Ora, and it is my favourite aspect of the movie.
The plot in this movie is based completely on the threat that Jack Hyde, Ana’s ex-boss and now stalker, has to their way of life; as well as the threat of an impending baby… dun dun dun!!! A baby that Christian does not want to share Ana with. Now that we’re in the third movie, Christian’s control is no longer coming across as remotely hot (not that it ever did), but more like a child stomping his feet at the unfairness of not getting what he wants. Christian’s childish and selfish ways are growing old at this stage, and are grating on Ana too, as she tells him to grow up or she’ll raise the baby by herself (which would probably be the best thing for everyone involved; Christian Grey as a father, an inspirational role model? Now that’s funny). His constant calls checking up on his wife, the protective detail that he has watching her, giving her a bodyguard that is hotter than he is (bad move Christian), and the revenge sex that he uses on Ana to prove how angry she makes him when she disobeys, are so infuriating, rather than sexy. However, it’s good to see Ana voice her annoyance with her husband and stand her ground, rather than quiver (pun intended).
Fifty Shades Freed tries to be grittier, attempting to be like a thriller, and failing miserably, I wouldn’t even know what category to put this under… bad erotica, that tries to be a thriller? We get a car chase, some creepy phone calls, and a kidnapping, none of which, in the sphere of Fifty Shades, ignite any feelings of caring for what happens to the characters; and thrown into the mix a few sex scenes, including one in a car, and another in the kitchen, using ice cream! Kinky. We see less of the red room, and less of the bedroom, less whips and chains, we get a few glimpses of Dornan’s bum, and lots of shots of Johnson’s body, but nothing in the way that would ignite your fire. It was all fairly… lacklustre really; and yet I still had to laugh at just how hard they tried to steer this in a different direction to the previous two, to give it a bit more gravitas.
So, after all that, what is it that draws so many people to this franchise? Let’s be honest it’s definitely not the cringy dialogue, the barely-there plot, or the tepid chemistry between the two main actors… so what’s left to like? Well, Jamie Dornan’s body for one, the soundtrack, the great style and lipstick choices worn by Mrs. Grey (honestly there are many magazine articles based solely on the lipstick used), and Dakota Johnson really seems to find her feet in this new, bold version of Ana. But if you’re thinking of watching Fifty Shades Freed…don’t. The tag-line should be enough of a warning to avoid it: ‘Don’t miss the climax’…really?
Just watch the trailer and you’ll get the same amount of ‘excitement’ as you would if you saw the whole movie.
18 (See IFCO for details)
Fifty Shades Freed is released 9th February 2018