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!