Blog Post

Critics Pan New Fifty Shades Movie as Boycott Gets Underway

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

In the age of the #Metoo movement and women taking a stand against sexual abuse, it’s not surprising that a boycott is already underway against the latest and, hopefully, last film rendition of the sado-masochistic “love” story known as Fifty Shades which one critic likened to “a bad Tinder date that lasted three years.”

The Daily Mail is reporting on the long list of critics who are slamming the third movie in the Fifty Shades trilogy, entitled Fifty Shades Freed, for everything from a poor plot to the dullest couple who ever graced the screen.

Based on the relationship between a naïve college graduate named Anastasia Steele and her emotionally dysfunctional lover, Christian Grey, the films are much like the novels – short on talent and long on explicit sexual violence.

In this edition, the two get married and settle down in their dominant-submissive relationship to live a lifestyle critics say belong to the “one percenters.” In between the steamy BDSM sex scenes, a somewhat limp story develops around the kidnapping of Christian’s sister and the return of his abusive ex. Apparently, none of it works.

Critics who saw previews were so brutal about the poor plot and subpar acting that studio executives tried to stop them from attending screenings. In spite of the fact that the UK is the home of the series author, E. L. James, no premier has been arranged in that country, nor have British critics been given any previews.

But that didn’t stop the tidal wave of criticism with reviewers from all over the world weighing in about the “cringeworthy dialogue” and lack of chemistry between Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) and Christian (Jamie Dorman).

For example, a review by Australia’s Filmink was particularly harsh: “It's marginally better than its predecessor in much the same way that being shot through the head is better than being guillotined.”

A Stuff review was not much better: “Add it all up, and Fifty Shades Freed was pretty much doomed to be exactly the highly glossed, deeply tedious and incontrovertibly lousy pile of old rubbish that it is.”

Rolling Stone”s Peter Travers wrote: “What timing! In the era of #MeToo and #Time's Up, it hardly seems like the moment for a movie about a woman who does the sexual bidding of a powerful rich dude. (Though it might be just the ticket on whatever island Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., James Toback, Jeremy Piven and other accused male predators are hiding out on.)”

He went on to warn audiences that they were in for “two hours of cruel and unusual punishment” as the third chapter in the trilogy “based on E.L. James' bestselling bucket of S&M swill” tries to conjure up a happy ending to this very sick tale.

Australia’s Herald Sun said the movie was like “a bad Tinder date that lasted three years."

Rotten Tomatoes gave it just 6 our of a possible 100 points, making it the worst-ranking film of the year so far.

The New York Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis shared their disdain. She scoffed at the “window-fogging franchise” and its “milquetoast masochism” and pasted an equally blistering review under the very revealing headline: “Finally! The Audience is Fifty Shades Free.”

The only good news to come out of this film that glorifies the sexual abuse and degradation of women is that it’s the last in the series.

It’s also motivating women around the world to take a stand against Hollywood’s persistent habit of trying to normalize violent sexual behaviors.

“In the age of #MeToo, the messages of Fifty Shades are not only in poor taste, they are socially irresponsible,” writes the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

They are calling upon the public to boycott the film. Click here to visit their website and learn about the various ways you can help to shut down trashy film franchises like this one.

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Correction: This article corrects the original edition which listed Dakota Fanning rather than Dakota Johnson as the co-star of this movie. Our apologies to Ms. Fanning!