Picture this: the cinema lights dim, the room is filled with impatient women sitting on the edge of their seats while a minority of male counterparts sink deeply into theirs with an ‘I got forced to come to this’ look upon their faces. Fifty Shades Darker has begun.
The overly-anticipated release of Fifty Shades Darker, the sequel to Fifty Shades of Grey, last Friday, prompted cringey couples from around the world to head down to their local cinema and watch the steamy antics of Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan.
With an average of 3.4/10 and a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has had a worse reception than its predecessor two years ago. This could be due to the first movie’s director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, refusing to direct the second and third films. Her touch in making the first film semi-romantic seems to have extinguished in the second one, making it more of a random thriller, with an ex-submissive who carries a gun and stalks Anastasia, than a sexual fantasy.
So how does a film with such critical feedback make £118.3 million on its box office weekend?
It’s due to the fact that sex sells. Fifty Shades is completely different from any other romantic movie out there, taking things a lot further than the innocence of Love Actually or The Holiday.
It’s a naughty and daring taboo movie that would make most people cringe beyond belief, yet makes every middle-aged woman squeal with delight at the sight of Jamie Dornan’s body.
Still, Fifty Shades Darker, just like the movie that came before it, seems to be tremendously tame rather than spanking-ly brilliant. Hollywood has glorified the gorgeous actors that play each character, made it extremely melodramatic and have caused offence to BDSM enthusiasts for creating such a ridiculous, unrealistic representation of their ‘activities’.
The other problem with this movie is that it causally associates sex with violence in an uncomfortable manner. Many times in the first and second film it is clear that Anastasia gives consent when Christian wants to inflict pain upon her, merely because she wants to please him because she’s too afraid to lose him. Fifty Shades Darker also includes a scene with Anastasia and her boss who tries to sexually assault her which could make many people in the theatre quite uncomfortable.
Apart from the darker sexual scenes which combine hot Hollywood sex with a few sex toys and extremely condescending and controlling chat from Christian Grey, “You. Are. Mine.” Fifty Shades Darker is yet another over-hyped movie.
It could have been so much better if it wasn’t for timid producers and a submissive Hollywood, which, ironically, mimics the nature of the movie’s very protagonist.