Hello there, lovely ladies 🤗
Seeing as we’re celebrating the month of luuurrrvvve, I thought I’d kick off with some Valentine’s fun courtesy of the evergreen Liam Neeson…
Cute, huh? 😍
Then, I’m sure you’re all eager to hear about my Fifty Shades Freed movie experience – or perhaps not. Maybe you’ve already seen the scathing reviews and are fully aware of what’s to come. Spoiler alert: I won’t be pulling my punches, and if you want to love the movie regardless, this review is not for you. STOP READING NOW if you don’t want to hear my honest thoughts.
Firstly, let me start by making something very clear. I know nothing about movies and how to make ‘em, but I do feel somewhat qualified to comment in the light of my card carrying Fifty fan club membership and good ol’ common sense. By that same token, I know it is very easy to criticize from the comfort of my armchair, but again, with what I feel is a deep understanding of the Shades franchise characters, the holes were NOT hard to find. Also, I have never expected the films to represent the book in every minute detail. I fully understand that the written word does not necessarily translate to the silver screen. Having said all that, this final installment officially broke my heart. 😔
With the last movie I commented that it felt like a highlight reel, a picture book of the best bits, but that it lacked the time each scene deserved. There was no way we could immerse ourselves in the development of the threads that made up the bigger picture of the story because they were on to the next before you could take a breath. Freed was set at the same break-neck pace, but the sad fact was that we didn’t see the scenes come to fruition at all, save for the end of the book.
Take the topless scene, for instance. We saw Christian getting slightly irritated (not furious – as he did in the book), the whole scene builds to the bedroom shenanigans and should culminate in lots and lots of hickeys – Christian’s cunning plan to teach Ana to obey. But the latter part was not present, so we didn’t get to see their confrontation and eventually the resolution – the two of them growing, changing, and compromising in their fledgling relationship. That was the whole point of the scene. Showing us just half of it was, well, pointless.
The same goes for the Aspen nightclub fight. Where were the fisticuffs? I know I saw it in the trailer, but it was markedly absent in the film. IMHO they should rather have cut the clip entirely than just show half. That time could be spent developing another important scene to its full glory instead of the chopped-up bits and incoherent pieces we saw. And don’t get me started on Ana’s orgasm denial in the playroom. I have no words for the lack of anything real in that moment.
I was looking forward to seeing Jamie’s interpretation of CG losing himself in music, singing out loud to his family’s astonishment. But the tender moment lost its meaning when the scene was moved to the Aspen trip rather than his parental home where his healing and progress could touch his mother’s heart, solidifying her son’s partner choice unequivocally.
Then there was the ice-cream scene. Though it was a cute, why on earth would we need a filler clip THAT IS NOT FROM THE BOOK but neglect to complete the ones that are in the actual story? The longest love scene in the whole movie, the one they spent the most time on, was again, NOT IN THE BOOK. To me, it makes no sense.
But the thing that got to me the most, that made my heart ache, was the watered-down version of our beloved Dom. The jealousy, the hotheadedness, the controlling man’s man was absolutely absent. There was NOTHING of the beautiful flawed persona searching for himself through the love of his life. None of his growth or his newfound self-awareness. Personally, I believe that the movie was pandering to the “abuse criers”. This “lite” version of CG had no depth, no intensity, and seemed fake in his “perfect pretty boyfriend” nature. This bland and overly palatable version of the man was directed to appease the mainstream. How very sad. 😔
But it wasn’t only Christian’s personality that had an unwelcome makeover. Their relationship with all its severe ups and downs was smoothed to unrealistic marital bliss. Every argument between him and Ana was so easily resolved, it simply melted away in their mutual tidy capitulations. Where was the volatile passion, the angst, all the frustrations as they sought to find their way? And it seems I wasn’t alone in my disconnection. The audience around me laughed at the most unlikely parts. It was disconcerting. #SadFact
Let’s talk about the bits we saw in the trailers that weren’t in the movie: Christian emerging from the water ala James Bond, Christian swinging by Elena’s after he learnt that he would be a daddy, and Christian taking a shot at the poor guy making eyes at Ana in the Aspen nightclub. And then there was the end of the movie (queue dramatic drum-roll plus an eye roll from me). Picture Ana watching CG whilst talking a stroll down memory lane, flitting through her memories in a way that basically equated to a montage of the previous films. Again, what a waste of time. They left out vital parts in lieu of looking back? WTF? As I mentioned earlier, I understand that we can’t have 10 hours, word-for-word, straight from the book in the film, but some pivotal excluded clips, like their argument regarding Ana’s marriage vows, her father’s hospitalization, and her birthday, would have been great to see instead of a recap.
Stylistically I have to admit that filming back-to-back was a good idea. Visually the film certainly felt part of the previous one, so that, at least, was nice. And I have to compliment Jack Hyde’s performance as played by Eric Johnson. To me, he was the only plausible character, the only one who was represented accurately in both his nature and the original plot.
Well, ladies. That was a mouthful. I’m sorry the news isn’t better. I guess the question is whether we can simply shrug off the mediocre offering to blue-blood fans or if we cry out with the injustice of the utter misrepresentation of our favorite book boyfriend. Let’s hear from you. Perhaps you felt differently? Maybe you saw something I missed? All opinions welcome as long as you play nice! 😎
Here are some other reviews thanks to Katherine and Sharon:
The Atlantic bemoans the sequel right along with me and the US Weekly site gives us 50 Reasons to See Fifty Shades Freed. The latter is funny stuff, and the US Weekly’s number 47 is for you, Lissa!
This week I read:
Prince Charming by C.D. Reiss was great. I always appreciate her exceptional research, the story built around impressive facts and realistic characters.
Currently I’m reading:
Sex, Not Love by Vi Keeland and The Cad and the Co-Ed by L. H. Cosway and Penny Reid.
In the spirit of St Valentine, here is some good advice…
Lastly, here’s to good books that’ll never let you down..
Have a lovely weekend, girls. I hope you feel happier with the movie than I did…