The press view
The "press" view KS

Our original plan was to get wasted and live-tweet Fifty Shades Freed for your (but mostly our) entertainment. Since it turned out that all press reviews were embargoed until today at noon, that plan went out the window and was replaced by Slack messaging each other during the movie with our to-the-second reactions. That plan was nixed when a Will and Grace extra yelled “PUT YOUR FUCKING PHONES AWAY” from two seats away, 18 minutes into the movie. So, instead, we've organized the review based on our notes about the major themes of Fifty Shades Freed, rather than including screengrabs of what discourse we managed to scrape together before we got narc'd on. If your interests include not taking off your Tory Burch medallion flats for sex, being non-consensually tracked by your husband through your work email and your cell phone, desperately hunting for tension between the human equivalents of cable-knit sock puppets, and lowest common denominator Rita Ora cameos, please read on.

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SLUT-SHAMING

Kim: Slut-shaming happens early and often in Fifty Shades Freed (the first time at minute seven, and it continues to slalom downhill from there). Christian asserts his control with the tenured finesse of a sweaty kielbasa by loudly declaring that no one can look at his wife’s body but him, physically covering Ana with blankets multiple times, and once literally threatening to staple a bikini to her bare breasts to cover them up. This movie was really great at slut-shaming; I’m pretty sure it was the entire motivator for the plot.

Callan: Christian's refusal to allow Ana to take her top off at a beach brings up two questions: 1) As a society, are we concerned that Christian demanding control over Ana's body is being portrayed as a positive sexual experience? 2) Does Christian think nipples can be stolen?

HOME DÉCOR

C: Christian and Ana's living room features a backlit shoe display, their bathroom looks like it was designed by evil Frank Lloyd Wright, and their Aspen vacation home looked like it was designed by the person who was passed over to decorate Snoqualmie Casino.

K: Rich people own a lot of statues, and, in some cases, those statues look like Slim Jim enemas fused into marble with a human face.

ADULT JOBS

K: Anastacia "earns" a promotion while on her honeymoon at the job her husband bought her. She spends the entire movie making her receptionist clear her schedule. The most work she gets done in any of the office scenes includes: 1) Telling someone in glasses to make a font two points bigger; and 2) Rubbing her coral lips against a dainty teacup whilst dreaming of the time she said “No way!” to butt plugs, but Christian went ahead and plugged her good, anyway.

C: Ana spends most of the time at the job her husband bought for her thinking about butt plugs. When caught thinking about butt plugs, she recovers by telling the office to make their books' fonts bigger. This is fairly similar to my experiences at The Stranger.

SEX POSITIONS

C: As a married man, I'm finally glad to have a movie that gives me great ideas to keep the passion alive, such as getting seven seconds of oral sex before segueing into missionary, or putting my partner in hand cuffs and giving her seven seconds of oral sex before missionary, or thwapping a vibrator haphazardly against her genitals and then moving on to give her seven seconds of oral sex before missionary.

K: Want a hot Valentine’s Day sex tip for you and your hubby? Make like Anastacia and spend a gratuitous 20 seconds tongue-spooning melted ice cream out of your man’s pubic mound before he grabs you, throws you down, and pleasures you to high heaven with some brief missionary.

HAIR INTIMACY

K: During the first instance of slut-shaming, Christian is braiding Ana’s hair, taking the time to both physically and emotionally manipulate her body. This moment is eerily similar to Jamie Dornan’s role in that TV series The Fall as a mommy-issues-obsessed serial killer whose compulsion includes taking time to arrange the lingerie and hair of his victims. The Fall is much better than this movie.

C: Ana thinks giving haircuts with paper scissors to men who obviously don't need haircuts is cute and sexy. Ana also thinks that sucking half melted Ben and Jerry's out of her husband's pubes is cute and sexy. Ana also thinks she can take a shower and leave for work in 20 minutes with dry hair. Ana is not correct in any of these cases.

MARCIA GAY HARDEN

K: I’d love to know what kind of Percocet haze Marcia was on during the filming of this film, because babygirl is having the time of her life. She offers up the only acceptable relationship advice provided in Fifty Shades Free, which was to be patient, and to listen. Thank you for your service, Marcia.

C: My guess is Marcia Gay Harden was huffing helium, and she's better for it.

RITA ORA

C: The song "For You" should have been called "For Who?" because I don't know who you are.

K: The only gift of your write-in role was that you were gagged for most of it.

SEATTLE

C: I was once in the Escala building—where Ana and Christian's condo is located—for a party. The owner of this particular condo brought in a medium-sized molehill of cocaine, and feeling uncomfortable, I holed up in the kitchen and ate some chili he was kind enough to heat up for me. The views from his condo were strikingly similar to the ones featured in the movie. But all semblance of art imitating life was squandered with a high-speed car chase from Vashon Island to 2nd and Seneca.

K: I once was in a music video that was filmed atop an apartment building downtown. From the roof, we could see into the building where Christian and Anastacia are supposed to live. On the last night of filming, we glanced up and saw a man in the building gazing back at us. This man, standing alone in his living room about 20 floors up from the street, flicked on a single red light that illuminated the stripper pole in the middle of the spacious, empty room. He then sat on his couch, turned on his TV, and masturbated for the entire remaining six hours we were on that roof.

PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT

K: Anastacia is incapable of saying no to anyone in her life, most notably to her husband, but also to her friends, coworkers, and staff. Her biggest rebellion is going out for a martini after work with her best friend against Christian’s wishes, which she then gets punished for thanks to a home invasion by her nutter butter ex-boss. The insufferable and ever-present bangs falling onto her forehead hold a stronger line than she does.

C: After two movies of tumultuous subservience, Ana finally finds strength in herself by demeaning other women to earn her husband's approval, and acting slightly more sassy in her role as a safety deposit box for Christian's cum.

BECHDEL TEST

K: This movie does not pass it.

C: The people who go to see this movie in theaters have never passed the Bechdel test.

CHRISTIAN-ITY

C: Christian states multiple times how he will never cheat on Ana. Christian always has sex in the missionary position, releasing his seed within his wife's womb. Christian makes his wife earn gifts such as driving the car, and enjoys seeing her cook in what he refers to as "his kitchen." Christian believes that birth control is the woman's problem, and blesses his wife with two children. This is a good Christian movie.

K: Abortion and safe sex methods are never mentioned despite all the fervently bareback missionary, and women are punished for attempting independent thought. This is a good Christian movie.

THE LEGAL SYSTEM

C: After Ana experiences a traumatic break-in and assault in her home, an SPD detective implies that Ana made the whole thing up, and made a sex tape with her would-be assaulter. A judge who does believe Ana's story sets a reasonably easy amount for her would-be assaulter's bail—which he immediately is able to pay—on the grounds that he's probably a good guy. The Seattle legal system fails Ana in both of these instances.

K: An SPD detective accuses Ana of making up her home invasion to tarnish the reputation of her total Froot Loop ex-boss, and a Seattle city judge presides over her case, understands that Ana’s Wildberry Poptart of an ex-boss is a danger to her, and still releases him on bail. SPD seems as disappointing and ineffectual as this movie.

HUMAN ANATOMY

K: Anastacia finds out she is six to seven weeks pregnant, and witnesses her baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound with help from her gynecologist. She's later attacked by her fruit n' nut bar of an ex-boss, who kicks her in the stomach. She is rushed to the hospital as a result, though none of the doctors seem to know that an average fetus at six to seven weeks is roughly the size of a lentil.

C: At one point, Christian notes how close Ana's asshole and vagina are, and how both are relatively close to her buttocks. This is correct, as the asshole, vagina, and buttocks are all located within the same general area of the body.

#ADULTING

K: Ana doesn’t know how long it takes to get ready for work, changes into some athleisure wear when she finds out Rita Ora has been kidnapped (rather than calling for help), chooses “red” as her safe word, makes heavy beef dishes in a white t-shirt, doesn’t know that her husband bought a house or seemingly really anything about her husband, has no life of her own, and can’t hold simple conversations.

C: This movie is like if brunch could give you an STI.

MARRIAGE/RELATIONSHIPS

C: Watching Ana and Christian try to create and build a functioning relationship is like watching two Twitterbots trying to trick one another into failing the Turing test. Neither were doing a good job of convincing me in the first place.

K: The only way Anastacia and Christian connect is through sex, so when they can’t fuck, they can’t function. The issue inherent in this tableau of modern relationships is that good sex isn’t immediate, effortless, or guaranteed, and it should never be the only tenet supporting an entire relationship unless you want your life with this person to be devoid of meaning or commitment outside of the bedroom. I hate dating, I never plan on getting married, and I’m basically the emotional equivalent of Danny Devito in a tube dress, and I still feel high-functioning compared to this display.

Overall Ratings, on a Scale of 1-5 Butt Plugs:

Callan’s Rating:

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CB

Kim’s Rating:

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CB

Final Recommendation: We didn’t pay money to see this movie, and we don’t think you should either. Happy Valentine’s Day!