|Directed by||:||James Foley||Produced by||:||Michael De Luca, E. L. James, Dana Brunetti, Marcus Viscidi||Based on||:||Fifty Shades Freed by E. L. James||Starring||:||Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes, Victor Rasuk, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden||Production company||:||Perfect World Pictures, Michael De Luca Productions, Trigger Street Productions||Distributed by||:||Universal Pictures|
‘Fifty Shades Freed’ finishes its exploration of steamy but uninteresting ‘Grey’ matters | Movie review
Fifty shades of Grey, but so few meaningful plot developments.
That’s the takeaway — not the kinky bedroom stuff or its related nudity — when you step back and look at the movie trilogy that begins with 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey” and concludes, thankfully, with the new “Fifty Shades Freed.”
Assuming these movies have been reasonably faithfully adapted from E. L. James’ hit book series, the English novelist has little concept of effective narrative structure. Her stories build momentum and pay off plot threads about as well as the film series’ star Dakota Johnson delivers the lines of the saga’s rather dopey heroine, Anastasia Steele.
Which is to say not well. Not well at all.
Then again, many readers — many of them females — love the “Fifty Shades” books, and the movies have done pretty darn well at the box office. No doubt they make for a fun girls’ night out, regardless of whether your group of gals is enjoying a “Fifty Shades” on a sincere or ironic level.
The latter really could be fun, especially when you consider the performance of Johnson, whose work stands out for the wrong reasons even though she’s not surrounded by much in the way of real acting talent, and the way Anastasia is written hasn’t done her any favors.
This film begins with her in a beautiful white wedding dress and making an undeniably lovely bride. After she has been bonded in matrimony to obsessive sex partner-turned-obsessive boyfriend Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), he refers to her as “Mrs. Grey.”
“That’s me,” she responds to him, Johnson offering an almost indescribable mix of confusion and mild excitement.
When Christian is about to whisk her off to a lavish honeymoon complete with the streets of Paris and time at an oceanside resort — where the oh-so-fun Mr. Grey admonishes her for sunbathing topless, as so many of the other women are doing — they pull up to a private jet.
“You own that?” Ana asks, still, three movies in, seemingly being confused by his well-established wealth.
“WE own that,” he corrects her.
Yes, our boy Christian has come a long way since the early days of their association, when he seemed largely interested in using and abusing her, as well as making her sign a creepy contract. Now, he genuinely can’t live without her and wants to share his world with her.