Hopefully, as a heterosexual female student in her mid twenties, saying this before the male critic hating and age generalisations continue, with a love of film that spreads across all genres and decades, this will come over as a fair assessment of a film that genuinely did nothing for me. Very like what was said with the first two 'Fifty Shades' films.
As was said before, my main reasons for seeing 'Fifty Shades Freed', wanting to see as many films of this year and of the latter half of 2017 (some released in my country this year) and that it just happened to be the film choice of a friend cinema film outing. General consensus of the group for the record being indifference and passionately hating it. Not because of wanting to hate it (have always aimed to be a fair and perceptive reviewer), following the crowd (have been known to go against the grain) or being someone who hates everything (generally am a positive reviewer and try to see the good in even awful films). And yes, am telling the truth about seeing it, have never reviewed a film without watching it.
Oh and the whole "why did you even watch it" rubbish, from those who denounce anybody who dislikes the film as trolls for having a different opinion, needs to stop, because it comes over as ignorant and disrespectful. People are allowed to judge whatever they want and the two most common reasons for seeing a film is completest sake (if trying to see as many films of the year as possible) and family and friend film nights and cinema outings, so that answers that question.
Which is the case here in 'Fifty Shades Freed'. Am not going to give it the lowest rating on IMDb, this is an extremely rare rating for me these days and reserved only for incompetently made films with no effort put into them. 'Fifty Shades Freed' has very little good with it, but there are also a few things good. It is the best of the 'Fifty Shades' trilogy, as there is a little more plot than the previous two, sadly this is not saying much.
Some of the soundtrack beguiles, it has a soothing nostalgia and appropriately amorous quality. Those lovely moments in the soundtrack, which should have been maintained more consistently, is the best thing about 'Fifty Shades Freed'.
It also looks good, nice use of scenery and very nicely shot. There is one acting bright spot, which is Marcia Gay Harden who does very well with her role and is too conscientious an actress.
However, the same flaws are all here. Other parts of Danny Elfman's score are one-note and repetitive, as well as too derivative of his recent work. He has composed some wonderful stuff ('Edward Scissorhands' is magical) but this is really not his best work. The same goes with director James Foley, whose direction is far too mannered and ill at ease, he has done some great stuff like 'Glenngarry Glenn Ross' and 'House of Cards' and when you compare his work on those and that for his contribution to the 'Fifty Shades' films it's like somebody else entirely.
Regarding the cast, only Harden is good. The rest fail to register in one-dimensional and in many cases underwritten and under-utilised roles. Eric Johnson phones it in at some parts and overdoes it in others as the painfully clichéd villain. More problematic once more are the two leads, and the chemistry is next to zero once more. Understated can be a lovely quality to acting, as long as it also becomes nuanced and with believability given to the dialogue. Dakota Johnson, especially in the first third, is too understated that it feels more like there is a lack of personality or emotion. Jamie Dornan looks uncomfortable throughout, delivers his cringe-worthy lines awkwardly and is just bland as dishwater with no charisma whatsoever. Chemistry is non-existent.
Again, the dialogue does no favours, dialogue so bad that absolutely nobody (even the best actors and actresses) can do anything with it. It would even be beneath actors and actresses who can't act to save their lives, and there is just as plenty of those around. It causes unintentional laughter throughout, is embarrassingly clunky and is pure smut. Then there is the story, even though it is the film with the most plot it still is so thin structurally, heavy in repetition, so badly plodding and without style or atmosphere that the film feels twice as long. Even with attempts to give more raunchiness and kinkiness, as well as edge, none of what goes on comes over naturally. Everything is horribly contrived and silly, with a climax that feels out of place and conflict that lacks tension and is instead unintentionally silly. The sex scenes are passionless and less than erotic.
Concluding, while very marginally the best of the three 'Fifty Shades Freed' pretty dreadful still. It is very early on in the year but my prediction will be by the end of it the film would still be one of the worst of the year. 2/10 Bethany Cox