Director James Foley (“Fifty Shades Darker”, “House of Cards,” “Perfect Stranger”) brings author E.L. James’s romance trilogy to a close with “Fifty Shades Freed” as fans have been following the relationship between Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Since “Fifty Shades of Grey” was introduced in time for Valentine’s Day 2015 with all the activities in the “Red Room” between two individuals from opposite financial status, it was followed by “Fifty Shades Darker” (2017), also directed by Foley. Fans of the books (and generally like the film adaptations) have been anticipating the “official joining in matrimony” scenes to end this film.
The script written by Niall Leonard (“Fifty Shades Darker”) fulfills the romantic portion of the couple’s story with a dream wedding, and all the elegance and glitz is captured by the excellent work of the director of photography, John Schwartzman. Although there are limited “I Do” scenes, there are both close-up and full length views of lace, flowers and all that the Grey money and status can buy. If you haven’t read the source material (as I have not) and you think they live “happily ever after” – think again and see the film.
I have seen the prior two films and was curious about how the power struggle between these two characters would turn out. I won’t reveal the ending here, but suffice to say this script does not bring anything new to the screen (theatrical or television) that I have not viewed in soap operas and Latin American “telenovelas” about the super rich and their chauffeurs, security detail, jealousy, insecurities, sexual affairs, and the list goes on. Eric Johnson returns in the role of the sleezy Jack Hyde and continues to perform well as the slime ball character viewers learned about in the prior films.
“Fifty Shades Freed” is not totally bad – it can be enjoyable and entertaining – as long as you do not set your expectations too high – this film is not nominated for the Academy Awards.
The trilogy mirrors real life for many – first there is hot and steamy sex, then more; then the give and take power struggle of a relationship. It is love, so they marry, enjoy the honeymoon and return to everyday life. There are struggles at work, home, sex, no sex, babies, oh my! Notice –there are no financial issues in this matrimony – one very likely issue for 99% of marriages. This story just allows “regular” everyday folks look at the lifestyle of the rich and famous and what they consider a “challenge.”
This trilogy continues to focus on the central couple, but there are other actors in a few scenes, including Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Ehle, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Arielle Kebbel, Brant Daugherty, Amy Price-Francis, Tyler Hoechlin, among others. They all do an adequate job for the little screen time they have.
The 1 hour and 45 minute film is rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, and language. It arrives in theaters on February 9th, but in some cities it is available on Thursday evening. Check your local listings for theaters near you.
By Liz Lopez
Source: Universal Pictures