FIFTY SHADES DARKER Review
By Victoria Alexander, Film Critic
An embarrassment. Billionaire crybaby “sadist” Mr. Grey refuses to be touched. Which means in this fairy tale fellatio is verboten. Anna never praises his instrument. There’s no penis idolatry in Mr. Grey’s Red Room.
I was waiting for the arrival of Ashton Kutcher or Kate Hudson to stamp DARKER as a really cute St. Valentine’s Day rom-com.
I have not read the second installment of E.L. James’s classic. The first book was enough for me. So I do not know if E.L. James dropped the master-slave template for sequel saga of a handsome billionaire’s mad jealous love for a woman who is annoyed by his extravagant gifts.
Directed by James Foley, who with this film has allowed his creative penis to be lobbed off as well as Mr. Grey’s, worked from a screenplay by E.L. James’s husband, Niall Leonard. Another man who either left his creative penis at home or lost it years ago.
Picking up where we left off in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) have broken up. Anna has gotten her dream job in publishing and is getting along fine. Her handsome boss Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) is interested in her. Of course he is! Meanwhile, Christian is a sad, sad puppy. How will he ever live without her?
Who decided to put Kim Basinger in a waiter’s costume for her appearance as the mysterious Elena Lincoln? I thought, oh, Christian’s S&M mentor works in the catering industry.
Christian may have a kinky Red Room (I’m starting to think he just likes S&M hardware shopping – those catalogs are a lot of fun to peruse), but there is a true romantic in him that Anna has unleashed.
Christian is obsessed with Anna and tells her if she takes him back, he will give up the Red Room. He wants a real relationship with her. Christian’s sincerity wins Anna over but she has her doubts he can change. All the professionals she has talked to do not think it is possible. Well, do serial killers stop?
Anna lays down the new rules: no more NDA, no more Master-Submissive contract, and no more gifts! Christian, having been introduced to the lifestyle as Elena’s “Sub”, eagerly agrees. He cries, gets on his knees, and allows Anna to actually touch his chest! He has made an important breakthrough.
Christian had a tough beginning, so he has reasons for being so kinky. Left by a mother who OD’ed, he wins the lottery! He is adopted by a fabulously wealthy family- the Greys! But he still yearns for his addicted mom. Grace Grey (Marcia Gay Harden) and Carrick Grey (Andrew Airlie) and their children, Mia (Rita Ora) and Eliot (Luke Grimes) are just window dressing. Grace is totally clueless about Christian and she should have known her close friend was interested in educating her son. Why are Mia and Eliot even in the books?
If there is any Red Room activity, it is only because Anna calls for it. She is in charge. Spanking is only done when Anna wants it. Falling gleefully back into his “Sub” role, Christian begs Anna to take a key to his 20,000 square foot penthouse. As any good “Dom” worth her salt, Anna has to think it over.
Christian moped around without Anna by putting on a lot of muscle. There are now scenes of Christian exercising and naked from behind.
Cunnilingus reigns! Women rejoice! The gorgeous billionaire requires no reciprocal performance. Why does E.L. James make this a key aspect of Christian’s sexual identity? Christian Grey may be the only man – living and dead – who does not want fellatio.
Christian chooses the word “sadist” to describe himself, yet he has never shown any strong desire to cause Anna an emergency room visit after an evening in the Red Room.
There is one fleeting moment when Jamie Dornan actually says “Kneel down” to a former “Sub” and you believe he could play Christian Grey.
I’d like to call out cinematographer John Schwartzman, Shay Cunliffe (Costume Design) and the entire Hair and Makeup Department, for how they presented Kim Basinger. While Schwartzman must have spent a lot of time lighting Johnson, Basinger looks deranged.
And while the Grey family appears as useless props, Marcia Gay Harden should have retired after winning the Best Supporting Actress Award for her brilliant performance in POLLOCK.
By now Charlie Hunnam is on his knees thanking all the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY fans who opposed his casting as Christian Grey. They did him a very big favor.