By Tracy Wang
One of the most-anticipated movies for this Valentine’s Day, ‘Fifty Shades Freed’, the final film based on the famous trilogy by E.L. James, surprises us with a good amount of laughter and action. Again directed by James Foley, and written by Niall Leonard (author James’ husband), the movie is filled with fast-paced drama, and touches some unexpected soft parts in our hearts.
It is finally the wedding day for Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). All the family members and friends gather at the wedding, and a happily-ever-after seems to be finally within reach (after Ana’s publication house boss, Jack Hyde, trying to rape her and Christian’s ex Leila following Ana in the previous movie). They have honeymoon in Paris, and Ana is quickly acquiring more power as Mrs. Grey in her work place as well as in her relationship with Christian. However, Hyde is far from gone, and his presence is stronger every single day. And when his presence is stronger than ever, Ana finds out that she is pregnant. Because of Christian’s tormented childhood, having children is clearly not on his list. What will they do to cross yet another barrier? What is Hyde really after?
‘Fifty Shades Freed’ can be said to be packed with even more drama than the last two. The whole film is filled with plot points of kidnap, pregnancy, wedding and Kate’s engagement, and yet it feels strangely empty, as if the whole film is truly only about Christian and Ana’s passionate relationship. One reason for this feeling could be that the entire film is moving as fast as Ana’s Audi R8. One of the most-anticipated scene, the wedding day of Christian and Ana, is being elegantly done in a few minutes and half of that time has the camera on Ana’s beautiful wedding dress. Similarly, when the biggest issue of a baby coming soon after their wedding day dawns, we expect it to be the climax or the most time-consuming part of the film, but interestingly, it is solved in a day’s time, in which Ana quickly saves Mia (Rita Ora), Christian’s sister, from Hyde, the kidnapper.
With all the scenes catching us in a whirlwind, we are spinned through the whole film; what’s more, the focus of the film seems to change as well. It no longer feels so much as a film about the dominant and the submissive or the sex scenes that draw so many curious audiences in the first place; instead, it has become a film that is more about a married couple overcoming challenges and differences together. A movie that is famed by its erotic romance has transformed into a plot that is full of trivial matters that are much closer to our everyday life.
Interestingly, with the focus of the film changed, the characters too go through huge transformation. The once dominant Christian is no longer the dominant, and the once ‘submissive’ Ana has risen to so much more power (their relationship has always been based on consent). Their erotic encounters, often initiated by Christian in the past, has them more like equal partners now, and Ana is taking much more control in her household, her workplace and during her pregnancy. Many scenes (Ana getting rid of Hyde driving R8, her telling Gia the architect to back off from her husband, her shooting Hyde to save Mia and herself, her speaking more openly about their sexual encounters), though short, showcase an Ana who is clear on what she wants, and who is not afraid to accept and admit her sexual desires. What can be more powerful than a woman who is fearless in embracing her desires and her body?
However, as big of a change as Ana has gone through, Christian is the one character who you need to acquaint again in this film since he has changed the greatest in this trilogy. What we knew as a dominant, unloving sadist has now become a ‘normal’ husband who is afraid that his kids will take Ana away from him. His insecurity of nobody ever loving him unconditionally, and Ana choosing the baby over him reverberates with us in an unexpected way, and this film closes with a Christian who has faith in his loved ones loving him.
Fast-paced with action and even having the vibe of a thriller at times, ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ is also surprisingly funny and hilarious. The script has Christian and Ana joking and teasing each other all the time, and when Christian responds ‘good luck to the bear’, when Ana asks him what if a bear attacks her on the mountain, we see a couple who are extremely comfortable with each other, and most importantly, an Ana who in the eyes of Christian, has all the power and strength she needs.
If you are still wondering how to spend this Valentine’s Day with your partner or your spouse, ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ is surely a funny and action-filled choice which offers us a surprising amount of wisdom on marriage life, insecurity and women power.