Fifty Shades Freed is just as awkward and unsatisfying in every way as previous entries into this uninteresting series.
Director: James Foley
Summary: Anastasia and Christian get married, but Jack Hyde continues to threaten their relationship.
There are plenty of reasons to hate the three Fifty Shades movies, and none of them have to do with the notion that all movies marketed toward women are crappy (despite some people’s hot take). While people do come down hard on this series, if it was actually enjoyable, like the Magic Mike movies, it wouldn’t matter. Making a film intended for women doesn’t mean it has to be terrible. But in this case, these three movies add up to watching two people who have zero chemistry stumble through what someone who has never had sex thinks “kink” is. There is not a moment in Fifty Shades Freed where stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan look like they want to be in the same room, let alone in bed together.
While the first two movies set up what was a barely consensual BDSM-practicing relationship, our protagonists(?) are now married. Ana is shown defying her husband in small ways, but instead of it reading like she’s a woman finding herself, it reads like she’s totally out of character from what we’ve seen in the first two movies. The one moment in Freed where Ana stands up for herself comes in the form of telling off another woman making moves on Christian. It comes across as mean-spirited and a display of weak character. Feminism is about lifting your fellow women up; not tearing them down.
Christian acts the same, though — in that he’s the worst kind of person in the world. When Ana finds out she’s pregnant, he reacts like he just found out his one night stand got knocked up, not his wife. The ensuing argument features dialogue so stilted and poorly acted one is left wondering if anyone spoke the words out loud before the camera started rolling.
There’s also the fact that the one scene in this movie that rises even slightly into the “kinky” territory also drops into nonconsensual territory. Christian might stop when Ana says her safe word, but he doesn’t start the sexual encounter with the intent to bring pleasure to his wife — or even himself. He starts it as a way to humiliate and exact revenge upon her. That is not why people practice BDSM, and like the rest of this series, it makes one wonder if writer E.L. James did any research on this lifestyle at all.
Fifty Shades Freed is an unsatisfying ending to a series that didn’t even feel like it was ever really trying. There is room out there for a movie about a happy and consenting couple that has a lot of sex and even explores various levels of kink, love, and romance. After all, consensual boinking is the best kind of boinking. That has never been this series, though, and it never will be.
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