Ah, The Fifty Shades Trilogy: A series of novels and films filled with drama, money and what is referred to as ‘mummy porn’. Pretty much everyone has seen the first film and had an opinion on it ever since it hit the big screen on Valentine’s Day in 2o15. We can probably all agree that Fifty Shades of Grey, adapted E. L. James’ novel wasn’t great. The dialogue was bland and so was the plot. The film was slammed for disguising an abusive relationship as a kinky and erotic fantasy where Anastasia ‘Ana’ Steele‘s (Dakota Johnson) whole life was controlled by the wealthy and possessive ‘dominant’ Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).
In the sequel Fifty Shades Darker, we pick up where the first film left off. With House of Cards director James Foley at the helm, replacing Sam Taylor-Johnson and new cast members Kim Basinger and Eric Johnson, Fifty Shades Darker is lighter than the first instalment. Although it has already been flogged (pun intended) by many critics, I honestly enjoyed the film from start to finish.
To top it all off, the film premiered in Adelaide at GU Film House’s V-Max theatre on one of the hottest days this Summer. With Woodstock champagne on hand, Naked Truth chocolate and a refreshing Trefoil face mask, the premiere was the ultimate girls night out experience.
The film opens with English literature fan Ana landing her dream job as an assistant to senior independent publishing editor Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson). After reconnecting with Ana, the wounded (and now ruggedly bearded) soul Christian Grey attempts to renegotiate terms with her, promising a ‘vanilla relationship’ with no more rules, punishments or secrets, and boy does he have plenty of those.
The chemistry between the two leads has drastically improved and Dakota Johnson takes the cake as the standout performance with several notable comedic and goofy moments during the film. Johnson’s ability to make Ana seem human amongst this tale of unbelievable wealth, submissive contracts and surveillance documents is an asset to the million dollar franchise. Many movie franchises have a reputation for getting worse with every sequel but Fifty Shades Darker is an exception to this.
The film sees Christian struggle to contain his possessive urges for Ana after spying the sleazy Jack trying to get close to her. Ana is more aware of these controlling behaviours in this film and is constantly frustrated by Christian’s attempts to manipulate everything in her life. By everything I mean, buying the company she works for and depositing a large sum of money into her account. Ana scolds Christian because of this but in the blink of an eye everything between the two lovers seems to be golden as the two characters are in the middle of having an adult sleepover on expensive satin sheets.
The romantic scenes and the stunning, picturesque locations are complimented by a killer soundtrack, which includes the insanely catchy Taylor Swift and Zayn tune, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”.
I was expecting two hours of lip biting, kinky sex and emotional and physical abuse but instead there was a psycho gun wielding ex, a helicopter crash, plenty of fabulous parties and the development of a kind-of-normal-but-still-a-fantasy-romantic-relationship. In short – this film has plenty of drama and action outside of the bedroom. Obviously there are a whole lot of sexy times inside the bedroom too – and in an elevator might I add.
Fifty Shades Darker is no Oscar contender but it’s corny, funny and thrilling. The much anticipated sequel delivered for the fans, and that’s all that really matters. Plus there are over ten shirtless scenes starring Jamie Dornan’s abs. If that alone doesn’t convince you to buy a ticket then I don’t know what will.
Fifty Shades Darker is out now. Watch the trailer here.