Fifty Shades Freed
Directed by: James Foley
Written by: Niall Leonard
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Rita Ora, Luke Grimes
Based on the books by: E.L. James

Review by Stephanie Cooke

Fifty Shades Freed is another one of those movies that arrived on my doorstep that made me look up to the sky and say, “What did I do to deserve this?” and I’d still very much like to know.

I stepped into the film not having seen the previous films that came before it. I seriously only thought there was the one and learned that this is, in fact, the third film. I thought about watching the other two films but then was like “Nah, what could I possibly need to know!?” 

I already knew that the franchise was based on the erotic Twilight fanfiction that swept the nation. I’ve read the Twilight books and I’ve seen the films so I figured they would be a good guideline.

Turns out that I didn’t really need that knowledge. I guess it maybe helped a bit in terms of telling me about the characters…except that they’re not vampires? I don’t know. I don’t really see any family resemblance between the two franchises unless you count the fact that both Anastasia and Bella have brown hair. 

The “plot” (if you can call it that) or the film revolves around the marriage of Anastasia and Christian. They’re married now (yay, I guess?) and trying to settle into their life together. Christian is being a real controlling d-bag who literally walks in on her work meetings to be all “DON’T TALK TO OTHER ATTRACTIVE MEN” and “CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME TO MY NAME SO PEOPLE KNOW YOU BELONG TO ME” while Anastasia is like “Wow bro, chill out… you’re being reaaaaal ridiculous” but then does all of the things that he asks of her. There are some other instances too, but let’s get back to this “plot” thing.

Right, so, they’re married now. And I guess this guy from one of the other two movies comes back to seek his revenge on the newlyweds. I don’t really understand why and neither do our characters, which isn’t great? As the movie goes on, it seems like the screenplay writer was like “Ohhhh, I guess we could try to explain this…” but it’s not great. I almost would’ve been happier if they had just left it as a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ moment.

Like Twilight, there are a ton of pop songs interspersed throughout the film. The same thing happens with Fifty Shades Freed. In fact, most of the film feels like a series of musical montages that string together a story that I could describe as flimsy, at best. You know, in case you didn’t already get that impression from me trying to describe what happens in the film.

The music was apparently arranged by Danny Elfman. Me and my s/o were probably only a couple minutes in when his name popped in the credits and both of us shouted, “DANNY ELFMAN?!” at the screen as if we were trying to ask what he was doing with his life (the answer is GETTING PAID).

They set up a conflict with this sexy architect that never really pays off. The villain is pointless beyond all belief. Basically all the conflict that they set up elsewhere could’ve been swapped out for Anastasia just leaving Christian until he learned to curb his gross toxic masculinity that oozes out all over the place.

Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan who play Anastasia and Christian seemed so done with the films. They put the bare minimum that they needed to into their roles, and I honestly can’t blame them. Johnson especially seemed to be grateful that this was the last film that they would have to do in the franchise. As we got towards the end of the film, her passion reignited for a moment as if she was shouting out to Hollywood, “PLEASE DON’T TYPECAST ME AS ANASTASIA FOR THE REST OF MY CAREER. I CAN BE A GOOD ACTRESS, I SWEAR!”

For a film that was meant to be about the sex and BDSM aspect, I think that was heavily left out of this film. I don’t know if it played a larger role in the previous two but they weren’t in the bedroom a lot during Fifty Shades Freed and when they were, it wasn’t steamy or sexy. It seems like the R rating for the film was mostly for the needless amount of boobs that they showed.

And for a film that is geared towards women, there was not nearly as many hot bod shots of Jamie Dornan as there should’ve been.

James Foley, the guy who brought you Glengarry Glen Ross in the 90s as well as a couple episodes of House of Cards, an episode of Hannibal, and the previous Fifty Shades film, Fifty Shades Darker, is back at the helm of this film. Clearly he has zero idea of what women want though. I mean, women were going to flock to this film regardless but BRO, HAVE YOU HEARD OF MAGIC MIKE? The women watching Fifty Shades Freed want that D, yo. They don’t want to see Dakota Johnson’s boobs; they want the D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean honestly. That’s just smutty R-rated erotic film 101. At least tease us with the D, bro.

So yeah, I think that Fifty Shades Freed fails in a lot of ways. Danny Elfman, my dude, you did great with what you were given. Thanks for the catchy-ish music that was thrown in randomly throughout the film. I don’t know if that was you or like, just some editor being like “This scene could use some Ellie Goulding” but whatever.

Fifty Shades Freed Blu-ray Special Features

  • Hickey and Apology
  • The Final Climax
  • Christian & Ana By Jamie & Dakota
  • An Intimate Conversation with E L James and Eric Johnson
  • Music Videos

I am definitely not the target audience for this franchise. I mean, I technically am in the demographic, but this is not even remotely my cup of tea. Even objectively though, I don’t think there’s much to be desired here. The characters are so bad. The plot is SO BAD. Every single person involved with this film makes the whole thing feel like they all just showed up to get it over with.

I can’t say that I recommend this film even a little bit. I thought that Fifty Shades Freed would be one of those so bad, it’s good type films but it is not. Unless you’re one of those people who’s super invested in the franchise, steer clear.

Stephanie Cooke
Stephanie is a Toronto based writer and editor. She's a comic book fan, avid gamer, movie watcher, lover of music, and sarcasm. She is a purveyor of too many projects and has done work for Talking Comics,, Agents of Geek, Word of the Nerd, C&G Magazine, Dork Shelf, and more. Her writing credits include "Home Sweet Huck" (Mark Millar's Millarworld Annual 2017), "Lungarella (Secret Loves of Geek Girls, 2016), "Behind Enemy Linens" (BLOCKED Anthology, 2017), "Home and Country" (Toronto Comics Anthology, 2017) and more to come. You can read more about her shenanigans over on her <a href="">personal web site</a>.

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