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Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson return as Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades Darker, the second chapter based on the worldwide bestselling “Fifty Shades” phenomenon.

When a wounded Christian Grey tries to entice a cautious Ana Steele back into his life, she demands a new arrangement before she will give him another chance.

As the two begin to build trust and find stability, shadowy figures from Christian’s past start to circle the couple, determined to destroy their hopes for a future together.


BOOK REVIEW:

A Reader's Review of Fifty Shades Darker - The Movie

Book Series: 

For any true fan of the books, the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades Darker is sheer nirvana. Much sexier than its prequel, there’s a noticeable change in the air as the second movie in the trilogy kicks off with a new director and screenwriter, adhering more to its original source, and taking fewer liberties with the characters and dialogues. We return to the Fifty Shades universe to find two actors much more at ease in their fictional skins, a stronger connection not only between them, but also to their respective alter egos, in a generally sprightlier and much racier adaptation of its literary counterpart. It might not be a cinematographic masterpiece by any means, but for a reader who has treasured this story for so long, and who has always perceived it for what it truly is—a fictional fantasy—this movie felt just right. I walked away craving to see it again, and for this movie buff, that says something.

The movie picks up the storyline three weeks after the events in Fifty Shades of Grey and the couple’s dramatic breakup at the end of it. We find a heartbroken and significantly more mellow Christian Grey willing to do whatever it takes to win Anastasia Steele back. And while Ana is far from being unaffected by their three-week hiatus, this time around, when she agrees to give their relationship a second chance, she does it by taking the reins between them and demanding a “no rules, no punishment and no more secrets” promise on Christian’s part.

However, as ghosts from Christian’s colourful past start popping up all around them and threaten to shatter every bit of trust between them, we watch the couple grow closer rather than apart, fighting their enemies together, and repeatedly proving to each other the extent of their commitment to one another.

There’s a visible improvement in Jamie Dornan’s level of comfort playing the role of the Dominant billionaire. He appears more relaxed and at ease with his character’s many “shades of f*cked up”—in and out of the bedroom—and that change is particularly visible in the delivery of his lines, all stiffness (no pun intended) long gone. I felt, however, that two of the most powerful, heart-stopping scenes in the entire trilogy and my two personal favourites—the ‘Christian as a submissive’ scene and the aftermath of the helicopter crash—felt rushed and incomplete, and to me, they entirely missed the mark. There was not enough emotional build-up before, during, or after either of them, inciting giggles from fellow audience members instead of the gasps of shock I had hoped to hear.

The leading lady, Dakota Johnson, is a joy to watch start to finish. Her quirky sense of humour shines through her every facial expression, but her talent truly shows during some of the movie’s more dramatic, angst-ridden moments. Within the confines of a role that did not allow for much melodramatic expression, she succeeded in making me tear up on at least one occasion I can remember.

Now, I would be remiss not to mention the blush-worthy sex scenes throughout the film, because their explicitness caught me totally by surprise, regardless of how much more graphic they are in the book. With one impressive spreader bar that steals the show and two oral sex scenes to boot, some of the most intimate moments between Ana and Christian are boldly brought to life with very little left to the imagination, and even making me squirm in my seat on occasion from the sheer amount of detail present. I will not lie, I did not hate them one bit.

The various secondary characters in the story remain nothing more than a colourful backdrop to the love story between the two leads, most of them utilised only to deliver bubbly one-liners, with the exception of the two villains in the story who might not feel as ‘threatening’ as they did throughout the book itself, but their very presence steadily pushes the plot forward. Eric Johnson plays a sleazy Jack Hyde with exuberance and confidence, even when his lines fail to portray him as the baddie he represents, and Kim Basinger delivers a picture-perfect Mrs. Robinson.

On a side note, the little tribute to Working Girl when Dakota speaks her mum’s iconic lines from that movie, saying, “I don’t expect you to fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself,” made me snort-giggle. My millennial movie companion completely missed the 1988 reference, but I caught it immediately and thought it to be a really nice touch.

Goes without saying that this one’s for the fans, folks, because I am not too sure that someone who has never read the books would enjoy this story as much as I have, or remain invested in the story as the die-hard fans undoubtedly will. The movie skips through all the crucial and most beloved moments in the book, never quite sinking its teeth into any of them but delivering them all, one by one, and any plot holes are quickly filled in our minds from our many re-reads of the books. I walked away smiling, having watched exactly what I had hoped to find, and having spent two hours of my time thoroughly entertained.

Blu-ray + DVD + Digital | iTunes | Soundtrack

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Fifty Shades Trilogy - Recommended Reading Order

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18 Comments Hide Comments

thank you for saying what I was thinking. I did enjoy it, but I missed the other parts. I had a mental list of scenes that I was SO looking forward to and will have to continue enjoying them in my imagination.

Thank you! While I LOVeD the movie too (hubby has already pre-ordered it for me on I-tunes) the two scenes I was so looking forward to were very rushed, like you said! Thank you for writing this review! While I loved it, it also lets me know It wasn’t just me who felt a little let down by the rushedness of some scenes. Will I watch it again, you betcha! Did I love it, absolutely! Thanks natasha!

Great review! I felt the same way about those two scenes feeling rushed. It was a great movie overall and I am HUGE fans of the series but I wish they could have touched on a couple other parts of the movie especially the pool table scene!!!

Yep Totally agreed with the many rushed & incomplete moments – that was huge for me… the secondary characters were really relegated way into the backround, somewhat placed into scenes & abruptly removed. I wish we could have had more interactions with them AND what a waste of use of an amazing actor in Max Martini – they could have used a cardboard cutout of him and it would have had the same effect. AND I did check out all the filming on social media & my biggest disappointment was where was the” Kiss in the Alley” scene!?? I know they filmed it. I agree the sex was wonderfully hot & look forward to the unrated dvd when it comes out. No matter what, I will always be happy that we have this book in movie form :)

I could not agree more. This is review is completely spot on. And I think everyone who reads can always agree that the movies are never as good as the books, but this movie was definitely as close to wonderful as it could have been.

This is the best review I have read of the movie. Seriously. But what about the Leila scenes? In the apartment? Was that rushed too?

Because Leila has a reasonable amount of scenes in the movie, I felt that any mention of her was a slight spoiler. I think she did great given the limited screen time, and maybe the final scene in Ana’s apartment could have been a bit more intense, but I did not mind it. Ana’s reaction to seeing Christian and Leila in a Dom/sub dynamic is what steals the show. Made me tear up. Dakota killed it!

You were spot on. I wish they would have spent more time on the Christian as the submissive as well. It was such a big part for me in the book and they did miss the mark there. I loved it. I went with my 16 year old daughter…I know people judge that I would let her see such a movie but I look at it as a opportunity to have a really good conversation and she saw the first one on HBO so at least she saw it with me. She cried two times, after the crash and at the end. She just kept saying Mom they love each other so much. I want to see it again.

I think it’s vital that parents talk to their kids about EVERYTHING, and it is much healthier that they are exposed to things in an environment where they can ask questions, discuss what they’ve seen, and for the parents to have a chance to guide them in their reasoning. So, I commend you for taking your daughter with you. And I love that she reacted that way–I have to admit that when I first read these books (and I much older than 16), I felt the same thing. I was overwhelmed by how much they loved one another. Hugs to you both! xxx

My hat’s off to you! My mom took me to see Basic Instinct when I was 15. I’m glad that my mom did that though because it showed me that she wasn’t afraid to talk to me about sex.

I’m in my 40’s now, and she has always upfront about it and I can still talk to her about it now.

I’ve read the books eleven times and watched FSoG at least twenty-five times. Other than crucial scenes being abbreviated (like those you mentioned), and many having to be omitted, I was EXTREMELY pleased with Fifty Shades Darker. After the interminable two-year wait, the movie was over much too soon. The wait for the DVD/Blu-ray/Digital release will feel like forever. Especially when considering a possible extended/unrated version and all the extras!

Let me just say this again…

Natasha, let me commend you on how capably you expressed your thoughts. On the movie. On the books. You brought up some excellent points, you offered criticism without condemning, and communicated your appreciation and joy wonderfully. Thank you!

Thank you, lovely. It was important for me to convey that I really really enjoyed the movie. So much that I cannot wait to see it again. Was it perfect? No. But there could have never been a movie adaptation of these books that would have pleased everyone. I had certain expectations, and they were all met, and that is what matters to me. As a reader, however, and that is why I even put that part in the title of the review, I am picky when it comes to the scenes I have loved for so long and imagined in my heads time and time again. The movie did a terrific job bringing those scenes to life, but as fans of the books, we are greedy. We always want MORE. :)

Thank you again for your kind comments. xxx

I really enjoyed your review. I’ve seen the movie twice already, and LOVED it to pieces!
I agree with your review, and would like to add that even the colors of the movie were better in this one. Everything looked warmer and more real, instead of the cold tones in the first one. I cried twice, and fell in love with our Christian and Anna all over again.
Oh! I loved the 50 Freed snippet after the credits!!!!!

I think I would have enjoyed to movie better if it were not call “Fifty Shades Darker” because it only hinted at things from the book, and so many things were changed or completely left out. I was expecting much more than this movie delivered as far as the book goes. It was not true to the book at all. Maybe it is because I know the books so well, ( I have listened to the audio books many times) that it just wasn’t up to par. I knew every time something was changed or completely left out. It just did not have it for me, missing too much. Even the scene where Christian is on his knees like a sub, was so poorly done. You did not get how difficult the touching was supposed to be for him. If it was just a movie, without pretending to be “fifty Shades Darker” I would have enjoyed it better as just some movie. I think it could have been so much better, you did not feel the emotions like the book.

I loved the books. I loved the first movie. But 50 Shades Darker the movie was a bit of a disappointment. In the book, Christian struggled more with his feelings for Ana and that just didn’t come across in the film. I felt like they got back together, dated, had some sex, and then got engaged. Which is not really how things flowed in the book. The movie hit all the major points but it just felt the angst and intensity was missing. I think the first film was better.

See, I felt the opposite. I didn’t like the changes, tweaks they did and everything once again felt rushed. Let’s not even get into the Dr. Flynn is no where around bit. I thought that was an VERY important part as to why Christian is the way he is – he gives Ana such insight during their meeting.

Glad I wasn’t the only person who caught the “Working Girl” line. She so reminded me of her mother during that scene. I snorted-giggled myself.

I have to say my favorite part of the movie was the very beginning – Christian’s nightmare. That was totally how I envision it when I read the book.

I loved Kim as Mrs. Robinson, but come on … it’s Kim Basinger. You can’t slap her and have her walk off all embarrassed. She took it like a boss! lol

I’m going to watch the last movie, because I’m a glutton for punishment it seems – channeling my inner Christian Grey Dom personality- but I don’t feel any sense of pride that they’ve done a good enough job. I have a feeling this would have been better off as a series on either Netflix, Hulu or Amazon.

Can’t wait for some of the missing scenes in the DVD!
It will include:
Extended/Unrated Cut that is 13 minutes longer along with 45 minutes of bonus content, deleted scenes, sneak peek of Fifty Shades Freed, interviews with James Foley, E L James and the cast, introduction to new characters and immersive 360 view of Christian’s apartment. (yay!) (heard May 24th is the release date!)

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