Fifty Shades Freed is the final film in the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy based on the erotic fiction novels written by E.L. James. Written by Niall Leonard and directed by James Foley, the film stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele (now Grey) and Christian Grey, who must cut their honeymoon short when Anastasia’s ex-boss Jack Hyde resurfaces to threaten the pair.
The people behind the making of this film have absolutely no idea what a plot is. This film has no plot at all. It’s one thing to have a messy plot, a convoluted plot or a nonsensical plot and another thing entirely to have none at all. This film is just a series of events related only by the fact that either Anastasia, Christian or both of them are in them. Every single scene and sequence is more or less self contained with nothing that happens in one scene having any bearing or effect on any of the scenes that follow it. Even the scenes and sequences that are related to the same thing/story or plot point had virtually nothing to do with each other. Things happened and then it was over. Abruptly.
By the end it feels like nothing happened and the film never actually started. It feels like the entire two hour run time is the first act, introducing and establishing the things that would be explored and payed off later. When the film hits its climax and resolution is when it feels like it’s beginning to go somewhere. There is never any rising or falling action. The structure of this film isn’t a triangle, it’s a straight line. The one part of the film that should be the highlight – the wedding – is completely glossed over and is sped through in under five minutes. What kind of “romance” film glosses over a wedding?
The conflict isn’t even a conflict. It’s shallow and superficial. A weak attempt at adding drama, tension and suspense to this film. It centres around Jack Hyde – Anastasia’s old boss at SIP; the company Christian bought for her along with her title and position, no matter how much this film wants you to believe she earned it – threatening Anastasia’s life because she “ruined” his for outing him as a sexual predator. And it barely has a presence in the film. So little in fact that to call it subplot would make it seem far more grandiose than it actually is. It pops up in the narrative here and there, but it’s like the film largely forgets that said story is even a part of it.
The characters don’t make up for, well, anything, because Anastasia and Christian are just there. They’re hardly sympathetic and thoroughly unrelatable. Yes, this film is a fantasy, but that is exactly why it is extremely important that you can connect with the characters; they are supposed to be the conduits through which you live the fantasy. And that is simply not true of either of them. At least to this reviewer. For super fans of this series, it isn’t doubtful that Anastasia is the girl they want to be and Christian the man they want to have.
Christian hasn’t changed much – if at all – from the first film. He’s still the pouty, angsty, broody, man child with unnervingly controlling ways. He’s also quite childish, to the point that he throws a couple of tantrums. At one point he had a very good reason for demanding something out of Anastasia, but he didn’t give that reason until after she went against his wishes. The initial reason he gave was fairly sexist and very patronising. Beyond that he’s blander than bland and has no personality. For someone who is supposed to be ever so spicy with his BDSM proclivities he’s as basic as white bread. The man is painfully boring and uninteresting, which is the perfect way to describe Jamie Dornan’s performance. He doesn’t even look like he’s enjoying the role or wants to be there. He’s phoning it in.
Anastasia on the other hand, despite not being sympathetic or relatable, is somewhat likelable. That is because of the way she reacts and responds to Christian. She’s rather very assertive at times, far more mature than Christian and her own person. She even does something smart at the end of the film. Although, the circumstances under which she does it don’t feel like something her character would organically do, but instead feel like something she does because the plot demands it. But to say something like it doesn’t feel like something her character would organically doz would mean that her character would have had to have been developed in the first place. She’s still, like Christian, boring and uninteresting. Dakota Johnson does better here than Dornan. She seems to actually be trying.
As to the entire point of this trilogy, the sex scenes, they’re just so dull. There’s nothing sexy, titillating or tantalizing about them all. And they happen so frequently that you get tired of seeing them very quickly. And they’re not even motivated. They just happen. There is no lead up to a single one of them. It’s like they just happen because ten minutes passed and another needs to happen. The filmmakers try to break up the monotony of them by having one of them be framed as Anastasia thinking back on it, but that just comes off rather silly. The film does get kudos, however, for having Anastasia initiate a couple of them and for Christian briefly being the object on display and the recipient of pleasure.
As the last entry in this trilogy, you should know what you’re getting with these films by now. If you weren’t a fan before, this film won’t change your mind. The only person who will really get anything out of it are people who enjoy not just these films, but the books as well. It’s more of the same. This particular entry, however, wasn’t boring like the others. Worst than that, it was nothing.