FIFTY SHADES FREED (James Foley). 105 minutes. Opens Friday (February 9). See listing. Rating: NN
If you want to be swept up in a dark and thorny romance about a couple who flip power dynamics between dominant and submissive, go see Phantom Thread.
Sure, Fifty Shades deals with that stuff too, but what defines the series is butt plugs and whips, accessories that are often at the centre of the give and take between Anastasia Steele (resiliently charming Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan, impeccable abs).
The final chapter (I refuse to call it a climax) in E.L. James’s luxury porn trilogy finds the couple tying the knot, committing to a lifetime with handcuffs and other kinks while ironing out their marital dynamic.
The movie is about as plotless as the last instalment, but this time that doesn’t feel so bad. Either that or I’ve been so browbeaten by this franchise that I have finally submitted.
There are distractions, like an obsessed stalker who lures Anastasia into a car chase, holds a knife to her throat and then kidnaps a family member for ransom.
But the movie is really about how every minor disagreement or emotional mood swing between Anastasia and Christian can be sorted out by applying a new kink. Christian’s over-protective nature calls for tied-down sex. Anastasia’s refusal to come home on time requires a blindfold and torment by vibrator. A bad dream brings out the ice cream. And so on. It ain’t much, but at least it has a groove.
Frankly, more sex means less chatter. That’s a good thing, because Dornan is much more eloquent when wrapping his tongue around nipples and ice cream than the hot garbage in the script.