Johnson, Dornan star in Fifty Shades Darker, latest installment of The Fifty Shades trilogy

By Jesika Islam || Assistant Arts & Leisure Editor

Photo courtesy of parentherald.com

On Valentine’s Day my roommates and I had the ingenious idea to go see the Fifty Shades Darker film, to simply enjoy a movie that we knew would be terrible. And I feel the need to explain the reason I went to go see Fifty Shades Darker because of the stigma around the franchise. The Fifty Shades trilogy began as Twilight fan fiction that a middle aged married woman wrote while extremely bored with her own sex life.

So when the books came out, the public originally knew the books as Twilight fan fiction with mild BDSM (Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism). Then when the first movie came out, everyone went to see it. For some, they went out of curiosity and to see how a director would portray the numerous, deeply explicit sex scenes. For others, they went to see their favorite secret obsession turned into a feature film. And for the remainders, it was the next biggest comedy.

I just knew this movie would flop. Even in the books, the plot never quite made sense. However, Anastasia Steele, an aspiring editor, and her boyfriend, Christian Grey, a 27-year-old billionaire, were a couple one could perhaps at least fantasize about being. However, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan’s on screen chemistry was completely lacking, to such an extent that the awkwardness was actually tangible. Quickly the story about an unforgettable chemistry and connection, that women around the world craved, fell flat.

Walking into the movie theater my roommates and I already decided that we would be the worst kind of moviegoers, those that laugh and talk throughout the entirety of the film. This was unfortunate for the rest of the audience, surprisingly filled with girls ranging from 18-24, but was the only way we knew how to survive the experience.

And this experience was actually great. The movie was a good excuse to eat an absurd amount of popcorn and Milk Duds. My roommates and I had a really good laugh over how many ridiculous, any nearly impossible, aspects to the premise of the film there were.

The movie still had its old charm of palpable awkwardness between these two characters that are supposed to be deeply and madly in love. There are some ridiculous, fantastical parts like when Anastasia Steele takes over her fired boss’s position as an editor at the publishing company because she fought for some author who had success with his online writing. The timeline of the series is also in need of some serious pacing edits, Christian and Ana meet, they date for like a week, they break up for like three days, and then a week later they are engaged.  Not only is this absurdly quick for any timeline of events, but Christian is the only person Ana has ever even dated or had sex with. My roommates and I laughed hysterically over this. Being juniors in college, we found it hilarious that Ana had a boyfriend, a cushy job and a nice apartment right out of college, all while her life was completely bank rolled by her superfluously rich, sexed up boyfriend.

Even if we forget all the strange and unnecessary parts of the plot, the story still has this hyper-masculine quality to it. Sitting in the theater, I couldn’t help but think about the other women watching with me thinking it was okay for your significant other to buy your love, disregard your break up, and essentially stalk and pester you until you got back together with them. Christian and Ana’s relationship seems wonderful because who wouldn’t want a luxurious life where your boyfriend buys you cars and takes you on helicopter trips to chase the sunset? But underneath that one needs to realize that Christian is emotionally unavailable and controlling, obsessive, and abusive. His appeal comes from the “he can be fixed” bad-boy attitude that people find so alluring.

As terrible as the movie was, the soundtrack was amazing. The movie starts with a rendition of Coldplay’s The Scientist, then has pieces from Sia, Nick Jonas and Nicki Minaj, Tove Lo and Halsey. They were ill-placed in the movie, overbearing and unsubtle but the songs themselves are really good.

Fifty Shades Darker is a great movie to watch when you have nothing better to do on weekend because you and your roommates are snowed in and need a laugh but I would definitely not recommend paying fifteen dollars plus concessions to watch the movie in theaters. And remember, this movie is not a blueprint for reality and does not depict a healthy, romantic, or sexy relationship.

Junior Jesika Islam is the Assistant Arts & Leisure Editor. Her email is jislam@fandm.edu.

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