Fifty Shades Darker

A Very Late and Cranky Review

I’m not a quitter but I do occasionally regret starting this mission. Sure, in a pre-Trump, pre-Brexit world–this was all hilarious. The idea of a pussy-grabbing billionaire existing outside of the pages of these atrocious novels seemed a lark and improbable.

2016 fucking showed us.

Anyway. The sequel to the somewhat moronic “Fifty Shades of Grey”, which was surprisingly vanilla and dull, opens with a young boy hiding under a table while his parents (?) argue. I’m assuming this is a young Christian Grey. The shouty man who we don’t see is hunting the little boy and the scene is, admittedly, disturbing. I suppose it’s to get the audience to sympathise with the emotionally abusive adult that is Christian Grey. Rather than do some excellent, in-depth character exploration, the screenwriter has opted for this road. He’s bad because he’s sad.


When the flashback ends, we see Anastasia Steele living her life post-Christian. If you remember, dear readers, she broke up with him at the end of the last film because she loved him and thought she could change him but he just wanted to tie her up and whip her

She thought they were embarking on a ship named relation but it wasn’t all hands on deck. Word.

An impressive bouquet of white roses has been delivered to her apartment, which she promptly throws in the bin. Seems petty, they’re going to die anyway, but it’s the principle. She’s telling women like me that’s she’s not a complete doormat and that she intends to stand by her decision to move on from him.

We’re shown her new job; assistant to a publisher. Her boss’ name is Jack Hyde.

Jack. Hyde.



Sure. Fine. I’m numb to the idiocy at this stage. Name a character after one of the most infamous villains in literature. Do what you want. The average “Fifty Shades” reader probably isn’t familiar with Robert Louis Stevenson anyway, they won’t make the connection.

I’m sure Jack Hyde is a goodie and not someone who’s going to turn nasty.

We cut to Ana sitting on a bus. She jumps as a dude in a grey hoodie runs by on the street. Clearly random joggers remind Ana of Christian as she suddenly looks as if she’s about to burst into tears.

Don’t you hate when random men in the street remind you of your ex-boyfriend? No, me neither, because it’s stupid.

There’s a creepy looking woman watching Ana in multiple shots. I presume we’re supposed to notice this, as it’s not subtle.

About as subtle as Jack Fucking Hyde.

What’s her landlady’s name, Jenny Havisham?

Ana is now on her way to her friend’s art show. It’s Jose. The guy that kinda assaulted her during the first movie but it’s okay because he was just an overenthusastic male friend. He’s a recent graduate, just like Ana, but has somehow managed to snag a show in a large art gallery.

Sounds fake, but okay. In this world, people book top gigs as soon as they leave university.

Awkwardly enough for Ana, who is just there to be a pal, the gallery is full of massive black and white portraits of her.

Why didn’t he just pee on her?

Jose is told minutes after greeting Ana that someone has bought all of the portraits of Ana.


I’m too old and cynical for this mess.

Guess who else is at this art show? Yup. Christian Grey himself. And he wants Ana back. They go to dinner to talk about their fucked-up relationship, or lack thereof, and Ana makes a big show of picking up the cheque.

Well done, Steele. All your internalised misogyny and babyish behaviour from the first installment is forgiven.


Ana makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be his submissive. She’s really more of a girlfriend girl.

Cut to drinks with Jack Hyde, her boss. Which Christian interupts. While this scene is clearly meant to show Grey’s jealousy and create a bit of competition, all it does is highlight the tremendous sexual tension between the two male actors. They have the best chemistry in the franchise so far.

First sex scene of the movie. Between Ana and Christian, that is. Not Christian and Jack. More of the same, sadly.

Mmm….missionary. So taboo.

Christian tells Ana that he has issues with intimate contact because of the abuse he received as a young boy. He lets her draw on him with lipstick.

What a waste of a Mac Matte

They go to a fancy masked ball and Ana lets Christian put actual silver balls in her va-jay-jay. I’ve never done that, do you have to clench all night to keep them in? What if you need to pee? How do you sit?

Ana’s magic vag has no such worries.

Cut to Ana and Christian on a boat and Taylor Swift is playing.

That’s approporiate, Ana Steele seems like a Tay Tay kind of girl.

Back at Ana’s work, Jack Hyde’s true colours are shining through. Cue expected sexual harrasment at work scene. Ana does knee him in the balls though, which is quite unexpected. Christian, of course, is furious. How dare some other guy touch his property blah blah blah.

Guess there were two sides to that Mr Hyde AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Kill me.

Now there’s some fingering in the lift. Ana seems to be enjoying it.

Again, seems fake. But okay.

Is no one else in this tiny, packed lift aware of what they’re doing? It’s super quiet and she’s all breathy! Or are they just being very British Americans and pretending not to notice?

Ana’s unstable stalker, an ex of Christian’s, has broken into her flat and has a gun. Christian bursts in to try and defuse the situation.


She doesn’t. Nothing happens. She drops the gun and Ana goes for a walk in the rain while SIA plays.

This film seems way too long, it has so many endings.

Christian goes for a ride in his chopper and nearly dies. But doesn’t die. Ana is so relieved that he isn’t dead, she agrees to marry him.

It’s over now, surely?


They’re at a party at Christian’s parents’ house. His ex is there, a different one. It’s all very “Days of Our lives”.

I’m so bored.

Ana just threw a drink in Kim Basinger’s face. Rude.

They celebrate the engagement. There are fireworks. Jack Hyde watches from a distance.

Weird, who invited him?

And it’s over. I feel old. Aged. How long have I been sitting in this dark, Leicester Square cinema? What is life?

I’m a hopeless romantic that masquerades as a cynic but this is too much for me. If I wanted to watch two dull, uninspired, two dimensional people find romance, I’d go back to being a bartender in Chelsea.



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