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article imageReview: ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ should’ve stayed bound and gagged Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 11, 2018 in Entertainment
‘Fifty Shades Freed’ is the concluding chapter in the S&M trilogy, which proves even the lowest expectations can be thwarted.
The ultimate chapter in a trilogy dubbed the “anti-Twilight,” which titillated any reader who could tolerate E.L. James’ abysmal prose, is finally getting its big screen debut. Over three years, the controversial yet sultry adaptations of Anastasia Steele’s unsolicited sexual awakening and subsequent taming of the bully Christian Grey has unfolded in the shadow of jealous lovers, past and present. In spite of being made under the guidance of different directors and screenwriters, a lack of consistency was never going to be the series’ biggest problem as Fifty Shades Freed so plainly demonstrates.
Opening with Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian’s (Jamie Dornan) elegant wedding and consequent inability to keep their hands off of each other during the reception, this pattern of brief narrative development followed by unabashed sex continues for the next stirring hour. As Anastasia continues to attempt to assert her independence, Christian uses hurt feelings to sway her to his will. And then they have sex again. In the meantime, it turns out Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) is still very much seeking vengeance against the Greys, pulling out security hacks most former publisher’s only read about in books. But something has to help the blood rush back to everyone’s head, so cue the violent intruder with “mysterious” motives and a surprise pregnancy to carry audiences through the second half of the 105-minute film.
Instead of action beats at regular intervals, this movie features a sexual act approximately every 10 minutes for the first hour. Moreover, if they’re not having sex, then at least one of them is in some state of undress for an equal number of scenes. But the oversexed picture does not make up for the worst narrative in the series (what there is of a story anyway). While it’s expected these films will be erogenous, sacrificing a coherent (and even remotely empowering) narrative for more nudity is a disservice to the fans. The scary stalker plot is just another reason for Christian to be controlling, while everything about Jack’s pursuit is contrived to propel the conflict between the newlyweds. When there’s only about an hour of script left once you remove the soft-core close-ups, more care should be taken to ensure it’s at least somewhat plausible and not just an overwrought music video.
Then again, the recycled dialogue, predictable twists and unlikely shirking of doctor’s appointments — lesson being women can’t be trusted to handle a mutually agreed upon responsibility — are equally artificial and annoying. While the complicated and sometimes controversial development of Anastasia and Christian’s relationship dominated the previous films, the concluding sequel decides to deviate from the proven formula to deliver something that is neither stimulating nor entertaining.
Director: James Foley
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Eric Johnson
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