Movie Musings: Fifty Shades Darker

Happy Valentine's Day! I cannot think of a better day of the year to talk about Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Two years ago I saw the first movie, but at the time, I hadn't read any of the books. When the film ended rather abruptly, I was furious. One of the friends I saw the movie with was kind enough to lend me her copies and I flew through all three. 

When I was reading the second book, Fifty Shades Darker, I knew right away the masquerade ball scene would be stunning on screen. That was the book-to-film adaptation I was looking forward to most. 

Fifty Shades Darker

Ok, before we dive in - SPOILER ALERT! Do not read on if you do not want to know anything about the plot of this movie.

When we rejoin Anastasia Steele (actress Dakota Johnson) she is starting a new job at a publishing house. She is living alone in her apartment (while her roommate Kate is on vacation with her new beau, Christian's younger brother). She and Christian are broken up (thankfully my rage over the ending of the first movie had thawed). 

One evening, Anastasia leaves work to attend her friend Jose's photography show, where she discovers he has six life size portraits of her hanging in the gallery. Her jaw is already on the floor, completely embarrassed, when she learns one buyer has purchased all the photos of her. She begins to scan the room, knowing it can only be Christian (actor Jamie Dornan). Sure enough, a few moments later, he emerges and declares, "I don't like people gawking at what's mine." 

Shortly after the gallery run in, Anastasia and Christian get back together. I forgot that one of her conditions of their reconciliation was that he tell her more about his past. There are several moments in the movie where Christian shows an uncharacteristically vulnerable side. 

As the movie progresses, the couple goes from dating again, to moving in together, to getting engaged (all in 1 hour and 58 minutes). Christian's proposal is stunning (as is that rock!). 

As I had hoped, the masquerade ball scene was a feast for the eyes. Complete and total decadence - costumes, live music, gilded decor, a cornucopia of food and plenty of drama! It was quite satisfying watching Anastasia throw a drink in Elena's face! Sorry, Kim Basinger. 

Fifty Shades Darker

Part of Fifty Shades Darker is establishing the villain for the final installment, Fifty Shades Freed. Anastasia's boss, Jack Hyde, goes from pervert employer to kidnapper. He is actually the last face we see before the credits in this second chapter.

Fifty Shades Darker

Just like the first film, Fifty Shades Darker ends unexpectedly, leaving everyone whispering to their friends, "What just happened? That's it?" 

For me, the fun part of seeing these movies is the way the scenes on screen trigger memories of your favorite scenes or lines from the book. Because it has been so long since the books came out, it's especially exciting. 

In this film particularly, I wanted all of Anastasia's dressed - her work outfits, her silver slinky dress for the masquerade ball and her apple red dress from Christian's birthday party. Whoever the costume designer is, I salute you. 

Now that I've seen this much anticipated flick, I am looking forward to Gifted, starring Chris Evans, and The Zookeeper's Wife, a Holocaust story with Jessica Chastain as the lead. 

*Image sources: 1, 2 and 3

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