Posted Feb 10 2018

Fifty Shades Freed - This Third Mommy Porn Movie Really Does Not Rock

Dir: James Foley

Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Eloise Mumford, Rita Ora, Marcia Gay Harden, Luke Grimes, Jennifer Ehle

It’s tempting to think that in 30 or 40 (hey, maybe even Fifty) years time, people will look back at this period in cinema, look at the Fifty Shades trilogy and go – “Jesus, what were they thinking??” Why were people so afraid of porn that when they took a deep swallow and got the nerve up to try and embrace it, they felt the need to dress it up as the most banal form of romance? For movies that purport to be edgy, these E L James’ adaptations have dulled anything approaching an edge, instead coming across as little more than an under-eroticised and remarkably chaste, deeply unsatisfying tease. In short – bad porn, bad movies, and – to quote from Gaga – bad romance.

Dakota Johnson has to date made a career of arching her back and making exactly the same breathy moaning sound over and over again. The Elusive Sound of The Female Orgasm perhaps? Who knows for sure, but if it is, it’s something that emanates no nature which part of her body is touched. It’s always the same. Good luck to her for being polymorphously perverse, but the woman still can’t deliver a line without sounding likes she running for the end of each and every sentence. And with a script this dreadful (from James’ hubby Niall Leonard no less) who can blame her. Early on, the actress actually manages to add “surprise” to her delivery when shortly after marrying Christian Grey (possibly the least kinky kink-meister ever) he drives her to a private jet and she says “You own this?” Have you not been watching the bloody thing, missus?? Did you not see the last two movies?? The man is richer than God – he probably owns about 50 of these, and you’ve been on some of them!

Jamie Dorman meanwhile may just be hoping to get out of this trilogy with a still viable career. To this end, he spends most of this instalment trying to disguise himself, his level of facial stubble appearing to change not just from scene to scene, but shot to shot. At one point Anastasia tells him he needs a shave. This is true as he is now sporting a full beard having just come from a completely clean-shaven beach honeymoon moments before. Good move Jamie – they can’t shoot you if they can’t spot you.

Elsewhere, there’s Rita Ora. Oh well.

Having shot both this and the previous entry, Darker, back to back, director James Foley uses this film to let all of Hollywood and beyond know, that yes, he really did peak with Glengarry Glen Ross. Back in 1992.

The latest 50 Shades is much like the first two – generally pretty terrible. The fact that the movies have attracted such huge audiences though (albeit diminishing ones) says more about society’s mixed up desires and contemporary attitudes to exploring sexuality on screen (or in the case of these movies – NOT!) than it does about them as bad films. The trailer that accompanied our screening – for the very worrying looking, highly meta “aged actresses read a dirty book” Book Club – implies that their influence may well be here for awhile yet.

Happy Valentines Day – or not.


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