“Fifty Shades Freed” hit theaters on Feb. 9, approximately one week before Valentine’s Day, just as its two predecessors have. This film is the third and final adaptation of E. L. James’s erotic trilogy, the first book of which was published in 2011.
Since appearing on the big screen, the films have sparked substantial controversy among viewers, particularly for their explicit portrayals of BDSM and the questions they raise from viewers about what constitutes a healthy romantic relationship.
In the final installation, the film teases viewers with what seems like an ideal, fairytale ending for the couple. The film’s beginning reveals close up shots of their elaborate wedding, depicting details such as the material and design of Anastasia Steele’s (Dakota Johnson) wedding dress and accessories. Unsurprisingly, the pleasant beginning soon unwinds and escalates, providing viewers with a sensible plot to carry the film through to its end.
Not long after their honeymoon, Anastasia and Christian Grey’s (Jamie Dornan) seemingly perfect life is tossed into chaos as tensions rise between them and Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), the trilogy’s primary antagonist.
Eric Johnson’s portrayal of Jack as a predator is spot-on in this film, making viewers cringe at his appearance. Despite what we learn about his past and his true motives for his ongoing grudge, no sympathy could be warranted for this character by the believably malicious way he is portrayed.
The film provides viewers with an powerful interpretation of what constitutes sexual violence in the workplace. Dakota Johnson demonstrates growth, both in her character and in her personal capacity as an actress. Her increased level of comfort with the subject matter handled within the films is increasingly evident in this final adaptation, improving the chemistry between her and Dornan, creating a solid romantic chemistry that audiences can connect with and root for.
As Anastasia experiences growth in the film, she reflects it in the way she handles her liberty and ability to speak up for herself, which she must utilize with both Jack and Christian.
To compliment the story, the soundtrack encompasses the intensity of the film point on, featuring artists such as Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Rita Ora, Liam Payne and Sia. Each song chosen builds the scenes up and adds a layer of feeling for viewers to draw from, making them feel the highs and lows of the characters.
Anastasia and Christian’s marriage is the ultimate release or “freeing” of Christian’s past as he commits to what he previously thought was impossible. Although the couple struggles with honesty throughout the film, their relationship is solidified through the climactic turn of events that will leave tense viewers pleasantly satisfied.
Film: “Fifty Shades Freed”
Director: James Foley
Release: Feb. 9
Rating: 3 out of 5