Review: 50 Shades Freed

It’s too easy to say you shouldn’t bother with Fifty Shades Freed. But can I come up with a reason to see it?


When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, I, like many women I knew, refused to see it. It’s ridiculous and demeaning and…ick.

Later, though, I read an article about the chemistry between Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. That night I watched it on Netflix. I’m a complete sucker for the chemistry question. If anyone says they see the incredible connection (or notable lack thereof) between romantic leads, I have to judge for myself, and I have lots of opinions on this subject. For instance, genre classic 9 1/2 Weeks has unbelievable chemistry. Say what you want about the content or 80s cheese factor of the film; rarely has a man looked at a woman on screen the way the way Mickey Rourke looks at Kim Basinger. Honorable mentions go to Alec Baldwin watching Meryl Streep on the dance floor in It’s Complicated, and Marie Antoinette, the way Kirstin Dunst is eyed across the al fresco party table by… wait… Jamie Dornan?

How can that be?

I did not realize until I googled the actor’s name that the man who delivers one of my favorite cinematic smoldering gazes is somehow the same man who looks at luminous Dakota Johnson in a way that my moviegoing friend described as “flat.”

Is it the way he plays the character? Is there a palpable difference in his connection from one co-star to the next? Or is my perception faulty, and others see the film and sense serious sparks?

I don’t know. But add breathtaking scenes of Nice and Seattle outskirts, luxurious homes, a gorgeous woman handling an Audi R8 like a boss, and a villain so godawfully overdone you’ll get a huge kick out of making fun of him, and there are worse ways to spend a couple of hours.

Really, really short review: Christian looks at Ana like she’s his insurance agent, not his new wife. But there is amazing scenery. Maybe it distracts him, too…


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