fifty shades darker, the movie

Looking for a last-minute way to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Look no further—let this review guide you to your evening’s entertainment. And if you need some inspiration on what to wear for your night out, let the fashion blogger du jour, TokesTakeOnStyle, steer you to looking your best on the national day for lovers.

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Fifty Shades series—me and millions of others. So of course, I feel compelled to see the movies. The first in the series, was not my favorite. My review summed up the lackluster performance and general disappointment I felt. Not so with Fifty Shades Darker.

This 2nd installment of three was better acted with more chemistry between Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. Dornan was less stiff and brooding for his efforts, while Johnson’s dialogue flowed more naturally. Their increased comfort level with one another and the characters they were portraying helped to make them more relatable and showed far more personality than their debut in Fifty Shades of Grey.

There was also a new addition to the cast, Kim Bassinger. She has the makings of a really good “Mrs. Robinson,” though like all of the secondary characters, she isn’t given much screen time. This is one of the short comings of the movies. The supporting characters in the books bring a lot to the plot but on the big screen they’re underutilized. I think this is a missed opportunity for the franchise as a whole.

“I don’t expect you to fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself.”—Anastasia Steele, Fifty Shades Darker and Tess McGill, Working Girl

And then there was the sex…And there was quite a bit, but no, not nearly as much as in the book. But it was well directed, definitely steamy, and had me blushing. I didn’t expect an R movie to handle something classified as ‘mommy porn’ so well on the big screen. (And for the record, there were some very mature women in the theater with me. Hope I’m as cool as them when I’m their age!)

For a movie that was 2 hours long it sometimes felt rushed. The interactions with Jack Hyde didn’t have a chance to play out as they did in the book leaving his character seeming to be an instantaneous jerk, instead of one who slowly comes to the forefront. Similarly, the storyline with Leila was so fast-paced, the movie missed the chance to show the compassion and deep feelings that Christian had for her. (Also, the actress who played her looked like she was about 14.)

Overall, any fan of the books will enjoy this sophomore installation more than the freshman try. I’m sure the film will be a box office success but it will hardly win any Oscars. Then again, if you’re entertained for 2 hours and you come out with a smile, isn’t that all that matters?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

fifty shades of grey–the movie

Where to begin with this one. I read the trilogy, several times. I enjoyed it–hence the multiple readings. I knew going in to have low expectations for the movie. I never go to the movies, but for my budding blog career, I thought it was necessary that I watch and review the eagerly anticipated and most over-hyped romance movie that the world has ever seen.

From the movie trailers I saw, it did not appear that Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson had any on-screen chemistry. This was also true in the movie. Dornan, while cute, was not Christian Grey Drop-Dead gorgeous. Nor did he have the presence of someone who commanded the type of power, success, ambition, intelligence… He just wasn’t Christian to me.

That said, Dornan clearly had his own interpretation of the role–I just didn’t care for it or think it rang true to the book. Similarly, Ana was feistier in the book than Johnson’s on-screen character. I’m not sure what her interpretation was of Ana other than that of someone whose personality is slightly more interesting than a cardboard box.

The movie was dull, slow-moving, and uninteresting. (And as a small aside–why does it take 20 minutes for a movie to even start these days? Movies aren’t that good in general anymore so does one really need to see just shy of half an hour of trailers for movies no one wants to see anyway? They’re making a Hot Tub Time Machine 2–for the love of all things, WHY?!?!?! But I digress…)

At just over 2 hours, it’s amazing that more from the book–which I re-read last night for comparison purposes–wasn’t incorporated into the movie. Some of the more memorable lines were–and I will say, overall, the dialogue was a bit better in the movie than in the book–but we all know, the book wasn’t well-written. Essentially, Hollywood took a poorly written book and made a poorly performed movie. And all that sex in the book? NOT in the movie. Let’s be honest here, if it was going to capture the essence of the book, it would’ve needed a rating of NC-17.

And while on the subject of straying from the heart of the book–the major interactions with supporting characters were just flat out missing. Kate and Ana didn’t interact all that much. The ever-present Taylor in the book was only marginally included in the movie. Mia, played by Rita Ora, who is fun and brings levity to the book had 1 scene in the movie. In my opinion, this was a huge missed opportunity and probably could’ve helped the movie. Hello people, you had Marcia Gay Harden!

Since movies are on Netflix and cable in no time these days, if you feel compelled to see it, wait until it’s on something you already pay for, but by all means, don’t waste more money.

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