The franchise comes out with what is the final release and the climactic conclusion (pun intended 😉 to the BDSM trilogy. You might say third time is a charm seeing as the predecessors to the final installment were less than stellar.
Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) return as the film’s conflicted couple who finalize their taboo relationship in matrimony. And while everything seems pretty flowery during the first 30 minutes into the movie, things start to go awry when Ana’s psychotic former boss Jack Hyde starts stalking her and Christian becomes obsessed in keeping his wife safe by forbidding her to do, well anything really. This leads me to my next point – while Jack is an overt psycho, Christian oddly enough, displays similar characteristics of aggression and controlling behaviour to which Ana finally musters up the courage to rebel against.
Though we see a definite growth in Ana’s strength and sense of self, as she fights to keep her identity and remain known by her maiden name, the prevalent issue with the plot is that it does romanticize of what is in fact an unhealthy relationship. Aside from the BDSM culture (which is rather poorly portrayed in the books, to start with) the romance and chemistry are seriously lacklustre. It is not uncommon to long for a fantasy which flirts with danger and encapsulates all of the typical clichés both men and women alike strive for. What is however, inappropriate is incorporating the kind of emotional and perhaps physical turmoil displayed in 50 Shades and beautifully packaged as the ideal romance to aspire to.
The movie does not necessarily fail in achieving what E.L. James wanted – which was essentially have a sweet girl fix a rather broken human being. Ultimately, many people could find themselves in a similar predicament in where adventure and danger collide. Nonetheless, I don’t believe E.L. James intended to necessarily cause harm when writing the book, if anything she turned a rather taboo subject into a hot topic.
In the finale, Christian mellows out and Ana finds her way as an equal rather than simply remaining complacent doormat we met in the first installment of the franchise. The couple find a balance inspite of being ridden with obstacles and find their way back to each other, even adding an addition to the family.
50 Shades Freed may not inspire ideal relationship goals, the film is definitely an option for a Valentines Day date night or a girls night out.
Universals Pictures Canada releases Fifty Shades Freed on Friday, February 9, 2017
[Review by Alessia Youkhanna]