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    Categories: A & EFilm

Movie Review: Fifty Shades Freed is Kinky People Behaving Badly

Twilight” fan-fiction became its own series of books and eventually, movies. In 2015’s “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Anatasia Steele and Christian Grey have a lot of kinky sex until things get downright abusive and Ana leaves him.

In 2017’s “Fifty Shades Darker,” she gets back together with Christian because he’s rich, but their reconciliation is complicated by his crazy exes and her unhinged boss.

Now in “Fifty Shades Freed,” they get married in an opening montage but the sex, luxury vacations and extravagant gift-giving is ruined when Christian’s past and Ana’s now ex-boss combine and go the full soap-opera on them.

Although I’m so not the target audience, that doesn’t mean I can’t admire a well-made film even if it’s not “for” me. But no matter the demographics, this movie just doesn’t work. It’s not a suspenseful drama, since the resolutions are easy and unsurprising; its erotic scenes still conflate abuse with kink; their picture-perfect life hides a super-dysfunctional relationship; and it certainly ain’t female empowerment, either. Anastasia occasionally stands up to Christian, but usually in the most infantile ways.

Then again, Christian is a controlling manboy who lords over a successful company while still overreacting to every little thing Ana does, like not updating the last name of her email upon returning to the employment he has provided for her by buying the company and promoting her undeservedly. It’s an odd point anyway, since Ana uses her married name to shut down ladies who come on too strong to Christian, showing not only zero confidence in her relationship, but that female empowerment means being nasty to other women.

But the Greys also have legitimate concerns regarding when to have kids, and many other subjects they should have broached before their nuptials. They were probably too busy agreeing on a safeword to fit those conversations into their schedge. Poor Ana; so overwhelmed by all the jetsetting, she even forgets her birth control, leading to more drama. The subtext is that ladies should put up with abuse because of their bad boy’s money.

These films might work on some level if Christian wasn’t a humorless, controlling creeper, if Ana was an independent woman in her own right, or if their personal life were more balanced and healthy. But where’s the box office in that? Like the Greys, these movies never learned to grow up.

  • FIFTY SHADES FREED
  • Distributor: Universal
  • Release Date: February 9, 2018
  • Genre: …Romance?
  • Runtime: 1 hrs. 45 min.
  • MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, language, and undermining women everywhere.
Richard Bonaduce :Rich Bonaduce was born and raised in Pennsylvania but has lived in Utah now for half his life. In addition to being a regular contributor as a Film Critic for Salt Lake Magazine, he is also the Film Critic and Entertainment reporter for FOX13’s weekly morning show Good Day Utah. He’s also a drummer in local band “Mojave Rose,” and is much shorter than he appears on television. You've been warned.