After dumping Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan), Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) is trying to move on with her life without him. After a chance encounter, the feelings come rushing back. Christian still wants to be with her. This time, she demands a new set of rules that include a serious monogamous relationship.
As the two continue their explicit relationship, a woman named Leila (Bella Heathcote) starts showing up around Anastasia. Leila is someone from Christian’s past who has never gotten over him. In addition to this potentially dangerous development, Anastasia is having problems at work. Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), Anastasia’s boss, is overtly harassing her. As the new owner of the company they work for, Christian steps in to alleviate the situation.
Anastasia also meets Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger). Elena is the woman who first introduced Christian to his unconventional sex life. It turns out that Elena and Christian are also business partners, meaning that they will continue to be in each other’s lives. Elena doesn’t think Anastasia can fulfill Christian’s needs and begins trying to break up the couple.
All the while, Anastasia is trying to convince Christian to go to the birthday party his parents (Marcia Gay Harden and Andrew Airlie) are throwing for him.
I have to start off by saying I have not seen Fifty Shades of Grey. Fifty Shades Darker picks up shortly after the first film.
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are not good in this movie. I’m not saying they are bad actors. Part of it is due to the material they are working with. I didn’t feel much chemistry between Johnson and Dornan. I’m told it is a step up from the original, but it is simply about the sex scenes in Darker anyway. (More on that later.) I will also blame part of it on Dornan’s American accent. When speaking in his native Irish accent, he is better. Acting with the accent makes him appear very stiff. The rest of the cast doesn’t do any better. Again, I’m chalking a good portion of this up to the script. The lone highlight is Dakota Johnson paying homage to her mother’s role in Working Girl. It is a quick line that will probably be lost on most.
As I stated, most of this movie is about the sex scenes. Dakota spends more time naked in the film than Dornan, who can’t even bother to pull his pants all the way past his butt. The infamous red room, of course, makes an appearance. If you haven’t seen the first movie, the impact will most likely be lost, as it was on me. I only knew of its existence from trailers for the first movie.
The biggest problem with Fifty Shades Darker is that it doesn’t know what story it is telling. There are at least 4 different plot lines in the movie. As you stumble from story to story, there is little connection between them. It becomes a jumbled narrative. But, again, this movie can’t be bothered with a cohesive story.
Aside from a world of experiences unfamiliar to most people, there is little to redeem Fifty Shades Darker, and most likely the whole Fifty Shades series. It isn’t the worst movie I have seen. It fills a niche and serves its purpose fine. There are just better movies you could choose.