Thursday, May 18, 2017


Welcome to another installment of SIDE BY SIDE, where we dissect the differences and similarities between two films, be it a remake/reboot with its original, a sequel with its original or two similar movies. This week I'll be comparing FIFTY SHADES OF GREY and FIFTY SHADES DARKER.

At the end of Fifty Shades of Grey, I yearned for more. Questions left answered would hopefully be answered by the next film in the trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker. And after watching the sequel, all my questions were answered and so much more.

Our two main characters, Ana and Christian, change a great deal between these two films. In the first, the audience only gets a glimpse of the real Christian Grey. However, in the sequel, he's more vulnerable and the audience gets to know the real man behind the fancy facade. And when audiences first met Ana, she was shy and not worldly. In Fifty Shades Darker, however, Ana is more self-reliant and more in touch with her sexuality. She also got her dream job working at a publishing house in Seattle. As an audience member, I saw both characters change for the better in order to make their love affair work.

In the beginning of Darker, Ana runs into Christian at her friend's art show. All the pictures are of Ana and it turns out Christian is the buyer of them all. After much deliberation, she agrees to have dinner with him and "nothing more". Obviously, that doesn't happen.

Christian's friends and family are delighted that they are back together, expect for one in particular. They are invited to a masquerade ball, where Ana gets into a confrontation with Elena, played by the always alluring Kim Basinger. Elena is a friend of Christian's mother and he was also her submissive at one time. She doesn't approve of Ana and says that she can't give him what he needs. Christian angrily replies that Ana taught him how to love and his mother throws Elena out. Will this be the last we see of her?

The best scene was when Christian popped the question to Ana. This couple has gone through so much to be together. However, audience members will not know what happens after the marriage proposal until Fifty Shades Freed comes out in 2018.

Fifty Shades of Grey is about two people exploring their sexuality and their attraction to each other. Other factors such as abusive childhoods, control issues and past loves get in the way of these two characters trying to find love with one another. Fifty Shade Darker takes the relationship between Ana and Christian to the next level. They try to listen and take care of each other's needs in and out of the bedroom. Christian begins to heal from his dark past and reveals more of his self to Ana.

Director James Foley did a great job of getting our love birds back together. Audience members definitely saw how distraught Christian was at Jose's art show. It's obvious in both films, that Christian cannot live without Ana.

Neither of these films garnered love from the critics. Fifty Shades of Grey received a 25% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though I believe the film was slightly better than the book. Fifty Shades Darker did even worse, receiving a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics claiming it "lacked heat and energy".  However, the critics don't always get it right.

You definitely need to watch both films in order to understand the timeline of Ana and Christian's relationship. Any true fan will watch, despite the lack of love from the critics.


Fifty Shades of Grey: 8.5/10
Fifty Shades Darker: 9/10

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