The second part of the most boring romantic-cum-erotic tales.
Fifty Shades of Grey became a massive hit owing to the fact that it is based on the best selling trilogy by E.L James. Or, is it just that the audience enjoyed the “so bad it is good” genre? Well, if that is the case then fifty shades will top the list. Fifty Shades of Grey ended with Ana breaking up with Christian after discovering his inner demons, AKA that he is a sadist. Well, he has been giving the hints since the beginning and you only had to guess it, Ms Steele!
Fifty shades darker begins with Christian wanting to patch up with Ana, saying that he wants to renegotiate the terms. Ana gets a job in Seattle independent publishing and Christian buys the firm. If you want to take the feminist portion into account then we have the old over-protective-yet-hypocritical boyfriend back! When Ana’s friend Jose (who harassed her in the predecessor) opens a gallery, and without her consent, he installed several photographs of hers. Ana simply stares at them with an open mouth. Well, I expected her to be pissed but seemingly she is not. That being said, all of her photographs were bought by Christian and he mentions the same to her in the gallery. Why? He doesn’t want the strangers to gawk at her! Typical. Well, they rekindle eventually and the rest is history…
Well, fifty shades trilogy is based on Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga and the movie adaptations were panned for having weak performances. Now, it is Miss Johnson’s turn as she gives facial expressions that make no sense in most of the scenes ’cause unintentionally it is making her sound like a damsel in distress. When she asks Jose about the photographs, that is how she sounded like. When she speaks to Christian Grey, goes for shopping, talks about her work and even to her friends about her everyday life, she sounds like she is in distress or she is simply bored. She is flat and monotone with her facial expressions ranging from a soulless smile to a blank face. Jamie Dornan is just there to show off his abs and sex appeal. He hasn’t abandoned his “lustful” look from the previous film.
But then he is just there to tell Ana how much he needs her. I was excited to see Kim Basinger in the trailer as she is a very good actress. She failed to leave an impression and just simply tried to a version of her character from L.A confidential. Only that she acted as if she trying to keep her makeup intact. That being said, all the actors have too much makeup on them notably the lipstick Johnson has. Was it done on purpose?
Marcia Gay Harden is lively and is a saving grace from the acting department. Both twilight saga and fifty shades trilogy did injustice to feminism (as a movement) where latter painfully glorified rape culture and disregarded the value of consent and the word “no”. But there are two proper feminist moments in the film. One is when Grace (Marcia Gay Harden) stood up for Christian and Ana by slapping Elena (Kim Basinger) out of her life. The fact that both Grace and Elena weren’t given proper screen and space and depth make this fruitless. Compared to Harden, everyone else, including Dornan and Johnson, were just standing around with a poker face. The other feminist moment is the scene where Ana defends herself from Jack Hyde, her boss when he tried to molest her. Apart from Marcia Gay Harden, Eric Johnson delivered a believable portrayal. Since the beginning, he looked and talked to Ana in a peculiar manner, both seductively and lustful. He wanted her and the looks he gave her gives you the vibe, that might be the guy who will end up molesting her. To either the writer or Eric Johnson’s credit, that scene is well done and Dakota’s reaction when she pleads to Christian about how Hyde tried to molest her is believable and probably the only good acting moment from hers. The pro-feminist element is when the action was taken immediately and Hyde is fired from his position. Anna’s smartness and dedication earned her the same spot. Ana is shown to be a selfless woman who likes to stand on her own by working and she is not after money. She accentuated that when she gave away the 24,000 $ Christian gave her during an auctioning. There were many ways in which her character could have been developed but nope. The filmmakers simply stuck to shove, flatness and dumbness which further internalised misogyny.
Christian Grey is shown to be a sorry figure in this film, but come on! He creeps up on Ana, he stalks her, he is overprotective, possessive and hypocritical. The kind of relationship Ana and Christian shared, removing the romance aspect, reminded me of a friend of mine whose boyfriend was very possessive yet he gets to do whatever he likes. They broke up eventually. Christian eventually confesses to Ana that he is a sadist and how does she react. By staring at him sympathetically. When someone says that he or she is a sadist then you run.
Anyway, the best case scenario here is that Christian and Ana have a good relationship but then she could have at least reacted, you know actually reacted as opposed to just starting with “distress” tone. That’s not what women look forward to!
The screenplay is just plain going with sex and BDSM is thrown here and there. Unlike the predecessor, both Johnson and Dornan performed well during the love scenes and BDSM scenes were less awkward. Ater watching the trailer which featured a woman stalking Ana and a potential helicopter crash. I hoped for some drama and thrills but both those moments were brushed.
The best part of the film is that songs list including my personal favourite “I don’t wanna live forever” featuring Taylor Swift and Zayn Malik. Why are the best artists and soundtracks in the worst films of all time?
So… did I like fifty shades darker? Is it worth viewing?
Of course not! It is just as flat and toneless but definitely better, just better than its predecessor. Here there is scope for both character depth and thrills but both these aspect were brushed aside by a romance that is both complicated and made no sense. People might view this film for the sake of witnessing the sex scenes.