Welcome to A-Z Movie Reviews. Every Sunday, for the next several months, I will be posting a review of a film in my home movie collection. How it works is, I will be reviewing movies in alphabetical order until I get to the letter Z (Yes, I do have a film that ends in Z). Now I realize there are many ways to alphabetize a film collection, but this is mine so don’t judge me. This is simply for fun.
Alrighty, for my last installment of A-Z Movie Reviews I talked about Fifty Shades of Grey and now it’s time to talk about Fifty Shades Darker.
What it’s about:
While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.
Like my Fifty Shades of Grey Blu-ray, the version of Fifty Shades Darker I will be talking about is the extended unrated edition. Hey, if you’re gonna watch Fifty Shades, unrated and extended is always the best way and I’ll break it down in a bit. First, let’s dive into just a few of the things I love about this film.
Character development is such an important thing to me whether it’s in a book, TV show, or a film. Nobody wants a story where the characters just remain the same throughout because that’s boring. Fifty Shades Darker definitely has character development.
When I read the Fifty Shades Darker book, I enjoyed seeing the changes in both Anastasia and Christian but, mostly in Christian because it was obvious that he really was trying to be a better man for her. He became more open and started to show her more of himself. That was something he had never done before but he knew that Ana was the one he wanted to give his all to. Jamie Dornan was excellent at bringing all of Christians emotions out in this film.
In Fifty Shades of Grey, he’s so reserved, serious and rarely cracks a smile but, in Darker, he makes jokes with Ana and genuinely looks happy and in love. Of course I thought Dakota Johnson was great as always because she’s pure perfection as Anastasia but I had to mention Jamie because so many people have bashed his performance and said that Dakota carried him through the entire series. If you have seen any of Jamie’s other work, then you would see that is just not true.
The New Characters
This time around we got more drama in the form of three new characters which if you read the books, you already know who they are; Elena Lincoln AKA “Mrs. Robinson,” Christians former sub Leila Williams, and Anas new boss Jack Hyde. All of these characters brought major drama and the actors who portrayed them were excellent.
Kim Basinger was exactly what I pictured for Christian’s ex? trainer? I don’t know what to call her but she’s the one who got him into being a dominant because she taught him everything he knows. She was cold and knew how to get into Anas head. Kim brought all of those emotions out.
Bella Heathcote as Leila, man I can’t say enough good things about her. I loved her so much and once again she is exactly what I pictured. Bella is a great actress and she was able to convey every single one of Leila’s emotions. I felt her pain over the loss of Christian, and her husband. She was lost without them both.
Bella was particularly good during the confrontation at Anas apartment. When Christian shows up and goes all Dom on her to stop her from hurting Ana, that shift in her control when he says “kneel” is literally like a switch went off inside of her.
Eric Johnson as Jack Hyde was perfect. I mean, he was just so good. He started off as this nice overly solicitous guy and then just turned into a major sleazeball. It was just like the book.
Rita Ora’s Upgrade
Yes, this gets a section. I had to mention Rita’s upgrade as Mia. As I told you in my last A-Z Movie Review, I hated her look in Fifty Shades of Grey. I have no idea who came up with that look for her but from the hair to her outfit, it just did not work. It made her look so old and it was not how I pictured Mia at all. I was thrilled to see her new look in Fifty Shades Darker because she looked much younger like she should have and her personality was even different. Kudos to whoever assisted in that change.
The Extra Scenes
There are a bit more extended moments in this version of the film but I will only go over a few and give my opinion on whether they were needed or not.
The Alley Kiss: Okay, now I know we all were looking forward to this moment since reading it in the book but I’m gonna be honest, it fell flat for me. The delivery of the lines felt forced to me especially when Jamie says “Christ Ana.” Also, it’s redundant because inside of the art gallery, Christian asks Ana to go to dinner with him and she agrees. When they step out into the alley, he says it again like she never agreed before they walked out. It just didn’t work.
The Pool Game: The pool game between Ana and Christian was another scene people wanted unfortunately, we couldn’t have it and all the other sex scenes. It’s a shame though because it really is a great scene filled with sexual tension, not only that, Dakota and Jamie said they worked really hard and spent a long time shooting that entire sequence.
Extended Charlie Tango crash scene: This was one of my favorites and it irks me to see how much was cut from this scene between Christian and his VP Ros Bailey (Robinne Lee) when they were riding in his helicopter. The theatrical version is too quick and there is absolutely no buildup. We as the reader know that Christian and Ros have been work partners for a long time so they have a good relationship. Seeing the extended version and watching them have a conversation before Charlie Tango starts malfunctioning, makes that moment even scarier and I’m sad the full version isn’t in the film.
Family Dinner: Yes you read that right, there is a family dinner when Christian returns after his helicopter went down. He’s telling everyone what happened and it’s just such a nice scene because it’s the first time we see everyone relaxing at Christians house. In my opinion, it didn’t mess up the pacing and there was just something special about it that I enjoyed.
- Even if Ana really wanted to throw the roses from Christian away, her trash can was way too small to do that.
- I just caught the error in continuity of Anas wardrobe during the opening montage.
- It’s borderline stalker of Jose to have six portraits of Ana for his art exhibit.
- Jose should have asked for Anas permission to use her photos in his show. I know he took them but, a little heads up would have been respectful.
- I love, love, love, the way Jamie perfectly catches Dakotas hands the way Christian would do every time she’s about to touch him when they have sex in the scenes before he finally lets her touch him.
- Speaking of sex, Jamie’s head was way too high and oddly angled to simulate Christian was giving Ana head, I said what I said.
- Ana you don’t want to keep the $24,000? do you know how many bills you can pay with that money? Girl, you’re crazy!
- Love the matching colors Ana nd Christian wear during breakfast.
- Christian, you don’t take your new girlfriend to the shop your former “Lover” owns.
- Watching the masquerade ball reminded me I know longer know where my mask I wore to the premiere is.
- I HATED Mrs. Robinsons look at the masquerade ball. Not what I was expecting at all.
- Wonder if it was ad libbed when Jack makes a phone call at SIP and says “Eric, hey it’s Jack.” I thought that was pretty funny because he is playing a character named Jack and his real name is Eric.
- That spreader bar scene… to think Jamie flipped Dakota over in one take.
- Really was hoping we would get to see Taylor (Max Martini) whoop Jacks ass after he sexually assaulted Ana.
- Dakota saying her mom Melanie Griffiths lines from “Working Girl” is super cute.
- ‘Not Afraid Anymore’ by Halsey is one of the most underrated songs on the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.