Guest Review: Fifty Shades Darker

Movie Review: Fifty Shades Darker (Guest Reviewer)

My disdain for all things Fifty Shades is no secret. However, I respect other people’s viewpoints. Especially when they are very knowledgeable about all things romance.  My friend is not only a romance writer, but also an expert in this field.

Take it away, Cassandra!

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Fifty Shades Darker

Genre: Drama, Romance

Fifty Shades Darker Review:

Before I get into a review of the movie, I would like to take a minute to talk to the people who haven’t read the books. I think it’s important to set your expectations before watching a movie like this, particularly because it is a screen adaption of  erotic fan faction. If you go to the book store and pick up a copy of Fifty Shades Darker and flip it over to the back cover, you’ll see that it’s filed under Erotica. Which means that it’s a romance with explicitly detailed sex scenes. So going in to the film, you can expect a love story with lots of sex.

And it sure as hell does not disappoint.

In Fifty Shades Darker we see that Christian wants Ana back and we watch them navigate a relationship without any rules or contracts like they had in the first movie. They pursue a ‘vanilla’ relationship because Christian realizes that he doesn’t need the dom-sub relationship to cope with his childhood trauma, he only needs Ana. As he admits to Mrs. Robinson, Ana taught him how to love and he spends the movie trying to prove to her that she’s all he needs, while she struggles with ghosts from his past and her own aggressive boss and doubts about whether or not she’s enough for Christian.

It’s very rare that I come across a sequel that is better than its predecessor, let alone that which is adapted from a book. But Fifty Shades Darker, in my opinion, is better than the first Fifty Shades. I don’t know if Dakota Johnson is more comfortable playing Ana this go-around, or Ana herself is more confident in her own skin  (I like to think it’s both) but Dakota Johnson kicks major ass in this movie. When she swiped the check before he could, when she takes him shopping to calm him, and when she curses out Mrs. Robinson, I wanted to high-five her each time.

Jamie Dornan. As a proud owner of two eyes and two ovaries, I think it’s safe to say that Jamie Dornan is a goddamn beautiful specimen of a man. The few women in the audience with me (I saw it the first showing at 7pm opening night, an hour after a snow storm so only about 20 people braved the god awful Connecticut roads to the theater) all swooned when he came on screen. As an actor I feel Jamie is at his best when he plays intense roles (if you haven’t watched The Fall on Netflix, go do it now) and at times I felt the role of Christian was too easy for him. He excelled when his character was struggling, with the burns on his chest and when he thinks Ana is going to leave him and he kneels to her in the submissive pose.  I think he is the perfect Christian Grey, and there isn’t anything I’d change about it.

There are some things from the book that didn’t make the movie, like the emailing back and forth between Ana and Christian while she is at work  (which was my favorite part of the book), but a lot happens in the book and I think they did a great job of covering all the important plot points: Ana and Christian’s relationship, his crazy ex, her crazy boss, crazy Mrs. Robinson, the helicopter accident, his awful childhood, etc. I’m sure everyone is going to have one favorite thing in the book that didn’t make the film, and I’m also sure that if they extended the film to six hours, no one who’s read the book would have anything to complain about.

This film has exceeded all of my expectations and I recommend it to anyone who loves love stories, “kinky fuckery,” drama and comedy (there’s a good amount of it in there.) I, myself, look forward to seeing it again and again before it leaves theaters.

Finally, in case you’re wondering, they’re called Ben Wa balls. You can thank me later.

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