February 09, 2018

R: February 9th, 2018 | R: 105 minutes | R: R

What does this country need right now? A film about two white people who happen to have bottomless wealth? How did this movie happen? Who lost a bet and had to make all three of these things? I've so many questions. Ladies and gentlemen, Fifty Shades Freed is a movie full of actors who are getting paychecks no matter what.

In this third and hopefully final installment, we open on Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dornan) exchanging vows. A few shots of the reception reveal brief appearances by key characters from the previous chapters, most of whom never to be seen again in Freed. Christian approaches his new wife and whisks her away to start their honeymoon.

Arriving in one of his Audis at a private airport where a plane is waiting, Ana exclaims, "You OWN this?" to which Christian slyly replies, "WE own this." Girl, HOW are you surprised that your billionaire husband owns a plane? Off to see the most beautiful sights, a painfully saccharine pop song plays over the montage of merriment as The Greys frolic and make out a bunch.

Their fairytale is cut short when a message from back home alerts them to an arson attempt at Grey Enterprises that resulted in stolen files. Immediately identifying a poorly masked Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), Ana's former boss who assaulted her, Anastasia is issued extra security detail.

Later in the film, when Ana's life is threatened, Sawyer and Prescott (Brant Daughtery and Kirsten Alter, respectively) -- Ana's personal protection -- neutralize the threat. Prescott asks Sawyer for something to bind the assailant's wrists while they wait for the police, but he wasn't given such equipment. So, these two rough and tumble folks assigned to protect the billionaire's wife weren't even given the proper utensils to detain a threat.

This is when Ana offers, "We've got something" referring to the arsenal of restraints she and Mr. Grey share. And the theater crowd goes wild! With Hyde in custody and Christian leaving town on business to do whatever the hell it is that he does, Anastasia is given explicit instructions to go to work and come straight home. Cue a text from her BFF, Kate (Eloise Mumford), asking to meet for drinks at the old Bunker Club. Sawyer watches her like a hawk the entire time, and she arrives home safely, but Christian finds out anyway and uses The Red Room of Pain to punish her.

I just want to stop for a second and remind you that someone wrote this in a book, someone else published it, and now it's a movie. The rest of the film is rife with sex scenes and jet setting. A getaway to Aspen? Who DOES that anymore? Rich, white people. That's who. Now, kids, I don't want to spoil anything for you, but I MUST address one scene in particular. This was the most offensive of the entire film, in my opinion.

Upon arrival at the Aspen house, Christian sits right down at the grand piano and starts playing a tune familiar to my ears. It's "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney and Wings. My inner dialog was on its knees, praying that he wouldn't sing. This was the moment I realized that the filmmakers hate us. All of us. Because he does sing. He sings for what felt like 12 minutes.

I'd checked out at this point. It's here that I'd like to mention that I've been filling in my coworkers about the film this morning. It wasn't until moments ago that I was laughing about it with someone when a woman shushed me and said, "I'm gonna see it tomorrow! Don't say anymore!" So we really are divided as a nation.

The main take home point for me after seeing this movie was that if this can get made, so can my movie about a man who lives underground and wears a mask made out of brick-like material and his name is Brickface. Freed has one saving grace, and that is Dakota Johnson. She's quite good and has delightful comic timing. The soundtrack, however, is akin to drinking bleach, set to music.

The rest is a bit surreal to see conveyed in a serious light on-screen. Someone earnestly made this movie. Someone wrote these words down as Twilight fan-fiction, then someone took those words and turned them into this, and someone took THAT and made THREE full-length feature films. The moral of the story is -- even if your dreams are garbage, you can still see them to fruition in wide release, just in time for Valentine's Day! Laters, baby.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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Fifty Shades Freed is the last of the Fifty Shades series which follows the characters Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele after they are wed. As with the other movies, their happiness is interrupted by someone who is seeking revenge but can this movie bring sexiness and thriller into one?

Having watched the previous two movies of this series I figured I’d give this one a watch too if anything just to see how the story pans out. This one is no different than the first two where sex overrules the overall mood and plot. Whereas the first two could be deemed lacking, this one was saturated in sexual scenes to the point where you probably should not watch this with someone you are not comfortable with.

Fifty Shades Freed was also funnier than its predecessors and I found myself and the audience chuckling more as Christian and Ana were more playful in their interactions and actually seemed to sort of like each other this time around. That is not to say that it does not make you forget that several signs and behaviors between the couple are red flags for a flat out abusive relationship.

In my opinion though this was the best one of the series and I’m happy with how the story panned out. I do wish they had shown more of the flashy lifestyle of Mr. Grey or included more of Ana’s psycho ex-boss because that was a better storyline to me than watching sex, sex and more sex but it will make for a spicy movie to watch around Valentine’s Day!

Rating: 2 out of 5

Ashley Ashley (Senior Contributor) is an Orlando native who loves watching movies. Her favorite genres include comedies, thrillers and sci-fi.
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The final installment of the Twilight – I’m sorry, Fifty Shades series has finally been released – Fifty Shades Freed. Now, I read the books and had the predisposition that all three books were all basically the same storyline mushing into one; however, I saw the first two movies and felt obligated to finish the series and see the last one. Boy am I glad that I got to see this as a pre-screening for free, because I’d have hated spending MORE money on this series to see it. The first movie was interesting – a new twist on romance with an interesting concept, but again, by the third movie, how many times can they show the same generic sex scenes with 1-2 variations in the “Red Room”? I just never fully bought into Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan being together. Their chemistry was always awkward and by this third installment, it honestly looked like Jamie Dornan was just as tired of his character, Christian Grey, as we were. He basically huffed and puffed through this entire movie, complaining at every chance he could, while Dakota Johnson somehow 180’d as Anastasia Steele in the seemingly 6-month time frame that these movies took place. Anastasia Steele is suddenly a high executive at her office with a completely new wardrobe and high heels and confidence that came out of nowhere. How is she suddenly able to run around in 6-inch heels when we watched her literally trip over her own chunky shoes in the very first movie?

This movie starts at their wedding – which is flawless and full of random attendees. I would love to know who planned all that in such short time? After they are done with their marital bliss and honeymooning, we really get into the nitty-gritty. Anastasia asks Christian if he wants to have kids, and discovers they own a private jet. Weird, but wouldn’t you think you should find out if your significant other wants to have children or how much money they make BEFORE you get married?

The real action is from Anastasia’s former boss Jack Hyde, who is going to very excessive lengths to try to kill Anastasia and Christian for reasons we only sort of find out. That storyline got very confusing and the whole thing was over in about 8 minutes. We spent more time watching a recap at the end of the movie of all of Anastasia and Christian’s memories together, which BTW was a scene blatantly stolen directly from the end of Twilight. Overall, Fifty Shades Freed felt the same as the first two movies, with a little bit of action tossed in to try to break from the norm. So if you enjoyed those first two, then you’ll probably enjoy this one too! I will say, the soundtrack was AMAZING. Find that on Spotify if you have the chance.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Lauren Lauren (Contributor) is born and raised in South Jersey. When she isn’t yelling at Philly sports teams on the TV, she enjoys seeing the latest action films and true crime documentaries.
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