I should start by saying I’d like to apologize to whatever Norse Gods I offended that lead to me being assigned reviewing this film. I’ll sacrifice three curried goats plates and seven bundles of virgin Brazilian hair to never end up here again. I should also say before this film I had never watched or read anything Fifty Shades, even that goofy ass Wayans brothers’ parody (truly why in the name of sweet nappy-haired Baby Black Jesus are these things still happening in this here year of our Lord Viola Davis 2018?). I did breeze over two reviews, one from what I believe is a woman of color, who calls it an anti-feminist ignorant hate anthem and one from a white woman who champions it as an ode to consent and the #metoo movement. So, honestly, I went into this with an open mind already knowing I was fucked. So here is a list of 10 things I wish I would have done instead of slowly dying through Fifty Shades Freed.
1. Teach Amy Nicholson of Variety Magazine what the word consent means
2. and feminism
3. …and that marriage is not the ultimate contract of consent.
I am a strong believer what we need to stop telling young girls in elementary school that when a boy pushes her off the swings it means he has a crush on her. We need to stop associating abusive behavior with love. The Fifty Shades franchise is a study on possessiveness and mental/emotional abuse. I know, I know, Country First Twitter would lead you to believe a normal consensual practice between two (or more if you’re fun) adults is abuse. That BDSM is somehow shameful or wrong (even though every day some red state politician is getting caught pants down and ball gagged). But it’s not…unless Christian Grey is involved, then it’s like a gender studies 101 section on rape culture. Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan), who obviously knows what consent means (I’m lying) when he jokes about how he should have asked Ana before buying their new house, is a case study on gas lighting and masculine fragility. He spends three movies and millions of dollars on molding the perfect partner who is now free (vomits) from her previous small world, innocent ways. But suddenly marriage changes how Ana can be “free”, her lovely beau doesn’t want her to be nude on a nude beach that he took her to. Like bro what the fuck did you expect?
4. Individually pluck all the hairs off my body with tweezers.
5. Clean all the gum and unidentified stickiness off the bottom of the movie theater seats.
6. Take whatever fast & furious class Ana took for that “we’re being followed scene.”
Like seriously, what the fuck? Obviously, I know so little about what came before this film but when did it switch from a multimillion-dollar low budget porn to a Jason Bourne series. Ana whipping through traffic like she trained at the school of Gone in Sixty Seconds. Also, the scene where they start banging in the parking structure after their “near-death experience” is like the director James Foley was like “um yeah… this is supposed to be a steamy movie…uuuuuh drop some sex right here, who cares if it makes sense”
7. Finally watch a movie where attractive women don’t have to be in competition with each other.
I think I see (like very loosely without my glasses, after a long night of drinking tequila and body shots off some hairy dude) how E.L. James intended to make our lovely naïve protagonist Ana Steel (played by Dakota Johnson) stronger in this installment. But what we really got was another tired cliché of a woman who could only find her voice when a, there was another beautiful woman there to establish dominance over (ha get it? vomits) or b, empowered by her beau. Earlier in the film, Ana is talking to the homely cook in their home and desperately wants to be called Ana, not Mrs. Gray and is trying her best to not feel like a privileged trophy wife. Fast forward to meeting the sultry Gia Matteo where suddenly Ana done found the bass in her voice and wants to be called Mrs. Grey and puts that “trick” in her place. Yawn, it’s exhausting, wake me up when a movie doesn’t have a woman threatened by another woman. This same woman couldn’t bring herself to boss up to bae when he cried about her using her maiden name in lieu of his million dollar one so she could establish herself in the workplace.
5. Listen to every sound cloud link sent to me on Twitter.
6. Build a time machine and go back and slap Stephanie Meyers.
Seriously, I can’t believe y’all people sat through Twilight and this shite.
7. Teach a class to young women on the difference between sexual freedom and sexual exploitation. And bring in a guest speaker for the difference between dominance and possessiveness.
I am not in any shape or form an expert on consent or BDSM. But I know what it’s like to be misled by society and movies and skinemax (back when we had to get our porn the old fashion way, hiding from our parents in the middle of the night and hoping the volume on the TV wasn’t up). I know what it’s like to think I am being provocative and edgy and “free,” only to realize months/years and twenty therapy sessions later that I was actually taken advantage of. To look back at all the frogs I called prince and realize I wasn’t sure if I actually wanted to have sex that one time… but I also felt bad …and didn’t want to lead him on. Or that the soreness was my fault or okay ’cause it would pass in a few days. Instead of acknowledging the fact that he wasn’t considering my pleasure or comfort at all. To realize how many men treated me like a sex doll but still wanted my emotional investment in them.
8. Let a budding tattoo artist practice on me.
9. Go onto Chat Roulette.
Like honestly I’d rather deal with the random dick rotation that watch this again.
10. Get romantic advice from Steve Harvey and Tyrese.
The alabaster love child of E.L. James and James Foley is extra cringe-worthy and uncomfortable and not sexy and wiggity wiggity wack. Women deserve better stories, better #relationshipgoals, and better sex.