Fifty Shades Freed
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Marcia Gay Harden
The final installment of E.L. James popular but equally despised stories land back on the big screen with little to no fanfare. ‘Freed’ seems to refer more to the audience who closes out the trilogy in obligation, rather than support. Director James Foley who picked up the second film, offers us more of the same arguments, sexual romps and unrealistic relationship propaganda. Although with two new releases opening in theaters having numerals in the titles, this disappointing mess is ironically the better of the options. What begins with a wedding and a pop song, ends with a montage of the highlights from the series. The two leads Johnson and Dornan look better than ever appearance wise, but their acting depth hasn’t improved.
Following Christian Grey’s proposal to girlfriend Anastasia Steele (Johnson), their ideal wedding and honeymoon is a whirlwind trip around the world ending in Italy. Christian (Dornan) immediately begins telling his wife when she can and cannot go topless which lands them right back in familiar push and pull territory. Back in Seattle they struggle over the direction of their relationship, including whether or not to have children. The previous film’s villain Jack Hyde (Johnson) returns for more unpredictable behavior, keeping Ana’s new security team on high alert. Their physicality in the bedroom continues as Christian reminds Mrs. Grey of her safe word.
The two leads Johnson and Dornan look better than ever appearance wise, but their acting depth hasn’t improved.
I understand the fantasy these novels and films propel for a certain demographic. It’s escapism on the highest degree for someone to live out a romance fantasy that includes unlimited amounts of money and sex. However, these stories are just that, fantasy with a preposterous amount of drama just so the character have something else to do but sex. The kidnapping, attempted murder plot in part three really push this story towards it’s cheapest element. The script in ‘Freed’ attempts to give Anastasia the upper hand and not play second fiddle to the dominating Grey. Each time she exerts any sort of power or strength in decision making, the plot must pause, so the two can argue about the situation and this repetitive process becomes tiresome.
The locations as usual are diverse and eye-popping, but ‘Freed’ is in such a hurry to wrap things up the audience is thrust from Italy to Aspen to various locations in Washington for such small amounts of time you wonder why even bother. The best moment in the entire film is a discussion on children and Anastasia says, “babies are made from sex and we have a lot of it Christian”. It’s a laughable line, but in context and where the story pigeonholes itself, needs to be said. A better director, screenwriter and certainly a more talented cast could have turned these adaptations into something more prolific. As they are, it’s just fantastical fodder for desperate housewives looking to spice up their relationship for 90 minutes.
Neither worse or better than the previous, just more of the same as this series limps toward the finish line.