Mr and Mrs Grey, will see you now.
This past weekend, the highly anticipated climax, that is third and final movie of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy: Fifty Shades Freed, was released to the anticipation of fans. Is it a must see for Valentines Day Wednesday, February 14th? Well lets see.
While it is no secret that a films book adaptation, is always better; given the detail that is used to paint a picture in readers minds. If you are a lover of literature, this film will leave you feeling short of satisfied (no pun intended).
Written by, Naill Leonard; who also wrote the previous Fifty Shades Darker. The film does a good job of matching the scenes to its book pages; however that is not exactly a good thing. There are no transitions, no well developed scenes and no strong characters. It is almost as if Leonard and the films director James Foley, decided to shoot the film in a chapter by chapter form and capture only one pillaring moment for each of those chapters. A moment that is so obvious to those who read the books but not so obvious as to their purpose to those who haven’t.
While to argue that their method of writing and directing, doesn’t deliver on expectations; isn’t exactly valid. Since the detail and choice dialogues appear to be directly taken from the book at times.. What they failed again to understand, is that it is the transitions they omitted to leave out, that cause these films to not be great stand alones, without the book fanbase.
Example; in the book Fifty Shades Darker, there are numerous pages dedicated to Anastasia’s meeting with Christians therapist. In which she learns that Christian isn’t a nymphomaniac or a sadist; but rather someone who uses sexual activity as a coping mechanism. Those pages, while, deemed insignificant to the films writers. Is actually a very important character pillar for both Christian and Anastasia. It proves that there is a reason behind Christians ways and gives insight into Anastasia’s compassion and empathy for him. The difference between the book characters and their movie counterparts; is that at least in the books readers can ‘read between the lines’ to see the story that lies beneath the obvious. The story of a man who neglected by his birth mother as a toddler, abused years later by his adoptive mothers best friend, and then grew up to become one of Seattle’s most top and wealthiest entrepreneurs. Only to then fall in love with Anastasia Steele. A woman who is as innocent as he once was and makes him break his own rules of boundaries.
Back in 2015, when filming for the Fifty Shades of Grey was underway. Then director Sam Taylor-Johnson and author E.L James, were reported to have constant dissagreemted over how the film should proceed. Taylor- Johnson told The Hollywood Reporter, “We’d often clash and have to find a way to work through that to get to some sort of resolution.” says Taylor-Johnson. “She would be the first to say as well that it was not easy. It was not easy. But we got there. I think both of us felt it was an incredibly painful process.” The clash over creative differences was so grand, that Taylor-Johnson was no longer helmd to direct the remaining two films.
While specific details were never given. It was clear that both woman had different visions for what to present the audiences. Taylor-Johnson wanted to present a love story; that of a successful man with a troubled past that shaped his present and that of a woman who is just beginning to explore her sexuality, when she is whisked away into a luxurious BDSM relationship. Whereas James wanted to present to audiences exactly what they read in the first book; lust, sex, excitement, passion, ect. Whether their goals were achieved stands for debate but what is certain, is that there is an underlying story beneath the words that fans of the novels come to understand once the last page in Fifty Shades Freed is turned, something that unfortunately those who rely only on the films won’t see or understand.
There are no strong character backgrounds or development in these films, you are told “this is who they are and why…now accept it.” Given that this was the third and final film, one would hope that all stops would be pulled to leave you wanting more and give these talented actors solid material to work with, instead of rushed scenes and short lines.
However not all is lost. The soundtrack to Freed, features original music that is well fitted to the scenes in which they are heard in and a score, produced by Danny Elfman, that provides a backbone to the film. While yes, the film falls short of satisfaction, it is always enjoyable to see even some parts of a book come to live and that is something that is why this film is still worth seeing. A must see Valentine’s Day movie? Well…there are probably better ways to spend time with your significant other and your money.