’50 Shades Freed’ Review Roundup: Film Provides Unsexy Climax To ’50 Shades’ Trilogy
50 Shades Freed, the final film in the 50 Shades trilogy, veered from the erotic into the thriller genre, and critics did not enjoy it. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan star as the newlywed couple of Ana and Christian Grey who seem to be settling into married life (plus the uncomfortable ownership Christian takes over Ana) when Ana’s former boss Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) comes to seek revenge.
Despite its semi-pornographic source material in E.L. James‘s novels, 50 Shades is uncharacteristically tame – no character is seen nude in any scene. Instead, the frequent sex scenes are cut short to make room for sweet images of the couple cuddling or sleeping. Mostly, the film leaves behind its usual kinky sexcapades in exchange for mystery solving and clue finding. While most viewers were attracted to the films for their sexual nature, the end of the trilogy left most wanting more.
The film, directed by James Foley and adapted for the screen by James’s husband Niall Leonard, scored a measly 12% on Rottentomatoes.
50 SHADES FREED REVIEW ROUNDUP
“The problem is there’s not enough sex and too much … everything else. Kidnappings. Office drama. There’s a gun in a drawer. People are stalked. A helicopter crashes in the mountains. High-speed car chases! …The emotional tension of Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker, where Anna has hesitations about submitting to his sexual tastes, is gone. Anna loves the sex they have. She feels safe with him. When he’s too controlling, she tells him so. They’re actually … a boring couple, truth be told… Dornan never finds a “way in” to this frankly unrealistic bazillionaire-dom. He was so good as the serial killer in the television series “The Fall,” but here—when he has to show Christian’s playful side, or emotionally damaged side—he is extremely inhibited. Dornan’s inadequacy is accentuated by Dakota Johnson’s natural force of personality and charisma. Throughout, she makes intelligent choices (no small feat, considering the material). She doesn’t take any of it too seriously, and yet she takes it seriously enough that she doesn’t seem like she’s “slumming.” A sexy scene involving ice cream works because Johnson turns it into a game she finds amusing. Her sense of humor never leaves her. “Fifty Shades” is pure relationship melodrama, and the role of Anna requires an honest commitment to those aspects of the story. A true test of an actor’s talent is how they survive silly or bad material. Dakota Johnson survives. Thrives, even. It will be fun to see what she does next.”
–Sheila O’Malley, rogerebert.com
“Just to keep things moving along, Fifty Shades Freed often requires the main characters to act like idiots. When Ana and Christian are being tailed, Jack urges Ana to floor it and drive like a maniac, thus endangering dozens of lives… Of course, the newlyweds find time for slightly kinky sexual escapades, e.g., dripping and then licking ice cream off each other’s torsos in the kitchen in the middle of the night. But in the home stretch, “Fifty Shades Freed” leaves the sexy stuff behind and turns into a combo platter of a cheesy, easily solved mystery-thriller and an overwrought, daytime soap opera melodrama. With little else to keep me interested as the story stumbled along, I did enjoy keeping track of all the trendy names of various minor supporting characters, from high-priced bodyguards Taylor and Sawyer and Prescott to the novelist Boyce Fox to the architect known as Gia Matteo to the bank manager Troy Whelan. The story remained bland and gray (and Grey) until the merciful end, but at least the names were colorful.”
–Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times
“Fifty Shades Freed is the worst of the three movies in the series which, if you saw the other two (both of which earned $100 million-plus at the North American box office), you know is really saying something. Three movies together and there still isn’t a single spark in the relationship between naive young book editor Anastasia Steeleand her billionaire playboy boyfriend Christian Grey, who together have all the chemistry of a mop and a piece of sandpaper. We know there will be a few visits to his red room pleasure palace, which is outfitted like a Crate & Barrel sex dungeon, but without that promise, this couple — this whole series — would have never made it past the first date.”
–Adam Graham, Detroit News