‘Fifty Shades Freed’ Movie Review: It All Ends Here

*MINOR Spoilers Ahead*

Capping the three-parter big screen adaptation of E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades” novels, Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson are back reprising their very much in love characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele respectively. This time, however in “Fifty Shades Freed,” the two are making things official by getting married. Unfortunately, once the honeymoon dust settles, the two are faced with several real-world problems, including the return of big bad, Jack Hyde, played by Eric Johnson.

Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades Freed’
Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades Freed’/Universal Pictures

By now, it should already be expected that not every single detail from the book has been translated on the big screen. And it has always been the thorn of films based on novel, given that chances are, the majority of people watching the film have also read their source materials. So the best way to cater to it is cleverly cherry pick plot points to include in a two-hour motion picture.

Unfortunately, while “Freed” was able to pinpoint which narratives they want on the movie, the manner with which they were all slapped together makes it feel disjointed. For some reason, it felt like there was so much happening, but at the same time, it seems like no character progression was happening. The first several minutes of the film felt like just a flurry of images of the newly weds in their honeymoon around Europe. It’s such a waste that Universal had to pay for actual location shoots when they could’ve gotten the shots that they wanted have they used a green screen.

Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele in ‘Fifty Shades Freed’
Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele in ‘Fifty Shades Freed’/Universal Pictures

If anything, the film,highlighted the books’ futile attempts to make Ana a strong, independent woman. Granted that her relationship with Christian is deeply rooted on love, “Freed” makes her look like a fake heroine. At some point, she insisted on not coming to New York with her husband because of work, but when he whisked her away in a vacation in Colorado after just a couple of days, she didn’t have any objections whatsoever.

The same thing happened at work, while she was initially very awkward of her new position and how she actually got it, she later warmed up to the idea that she could actually call his boss by his first name. Johnson has the acting prowess to actually be a charming but strong headed character based on her other work, but her characterization in this film is too corroded to even know what her personality us.

Additionally, for an R-rated film supposedly leaning heavy on intimate scenes, the film, much like its predecessors, was nothing but lazy when it comes to filming s*x scenes between the two leads from a creative standpoint. Other than the nud*ty and some curse words, there’s really nothing artistically pushing it to have an Adult rating.

Ana and Christian’s making love is a core element of their relationship, and yet, “Freed” cheapened with unpassionate coitus between the two. It also didn’t help that Johnson has already started making inarticulate sounds even before she had contact with Dornan. Whether that’s the ADR done in post-production or not, that shouldn’t have been the case.

Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades Freed’
Dakota Johnson as Ana Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades Freed’/Universal Pictures

If only “Freed” embraced what it actually is without pretending like it’s a psychological thriller, then people may actually be more acceptable of it. While the books created a huge fan community, phoning it in, knowing that readers of the books will see it seems to be a bit lazy. And it’s not like Dornan and Johnson are bad actors, both have done great work in other projects. So why does it feel like their main responsibility as lead stars of the film is to look good n*ked first and acting just comes second?

The “Fifty Shades” film threequel had a good chance of making something good out of the novels which were frowned upon by many. Folks behind the production could’ve taken the creative liberty to make the films become more thoughtful and better crafted than their source material as a way to send a message to naysayers. Unfortunately, three films after, they just proved their detractors right.

Watch ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ official trailer here:

— ALD, The Summit Express

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