Romantic Comedies/Dramas/Thrillers are usually too cheesy and ridiculous to me. Love Actually? Way overrated. There’s Something About Mary? Dumb humor, barely passable. The Wedding Singer? Hated it. You get the idea. I agree with almost every accusation hurled at romantic films: they perpetuate unhealthy notions of love and the idea that any guy can convince a woman to go out with him or fall in love with him if he’s just persistent enough. Stalker alert! In real life, if we’re not interested in you no amount of harassment will change that. Just as they serve the female fantasy of love, they serve the male fantasy, perhaps even more dangerously so.
Fifty Shades Darker (and its predecessor Fifty Shades Grey) will only be viewed as a fascinating look into S&M by the most sheltered and conservative among us. It is hardly an accurate or in-depth window into the sex lives of sadomasochists. The film is S&M Lite, playing it very safe with what sexual activities the 2 main characters engage in and focuses more on their complicated love story. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, of course.
In one scene, Anastasia refers to Christian as a “dominant” and he is quick to correct her, “I’m a sadist”. I suspect the filmmakers (or the author) are aware that audiences couldn’t handle witnessing what a sadist actually enjoys doing in the bedroom, because there is not a single sex scene that proves his self-declaration accurate. Since the filmmakers wanted to focus on their love affair, I’m sure they realized a scene with Christian gagging Anastasia and hog-tying her so he can burn her with hot wax and listen to her try to scream would kind of kill the whole “love” vibe for mainstream audiences.
All that said, I actually enjoyed this sequel more than the first. I never read the books (only nonfiction for me) so film adaptations of fiction stories are never ruined for me because “the book was SO much better”. Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson do well in their roles, and their chemistry was hot. I believed them as a couple, but not necessarily their love.
I could’ve indulged in more details but I’d rather not have a “Spoilers” warning at the beginning of my review 😉