Guilty pleasure? Pah! Why feel guilt over something that’s this much fun?
Buy Fifty Shades Freed from Monday 4 June on the Virgin Media Store or rent on Virgin Movies from Monday 18 June. Cert 18
Lower the blinds, dim the lights and turn on... your TV. The final chapter in the trilogy joins Fifty Shades Of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker on the Virgin Media Store, and it’s as shamelessly entertaining as we’d hoped. As the film’s strapline says: “Don’t miss the climax.” Ahem.
If you’ve been tied up in a dungeon for the last few years, the Fifty Shades phenomenon may have escaped you. Stars Jamie Dornan (The Fall) and Dakota Johnson (A Bigger Splash) can thank one housewife’s “midlife crisis" project for propelling their careers into the stratosphere.
The first novel in the series, Fifty Shades Of Grey, published in 2011, started life when novice writer EL James uploaded it onto a Twilight fan fiction website. The titillating tale of virginal college girl Anastasia Steele and her lover Christian Grey – a brooding billionaire with a penchant for mixing pain with pleasure – soon became a word-of-mouth hit globally. The growth of ebooks, allowing readers to enjoy the S&M-themed novel discreetly, when and where they wanted, no doubt contributed to its success.
The book trilogy has now sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, despite James’ prose being widely critically derided. Even the usually supportive Stephen King took pot shots at her wafer-thin characterisation. But seeing how James is now rich enough to own a pet unicorn (probably), we doubt that she cares too much.
The third and final instalment in the film franchise finds newlyweds Christian (Dornan) and Anastasia (Johnson) settling in to a life of marital bliss. There’s plenty of conspicuous consumption on display as we’re invited to marvel at their luxury Seattle lifestyle. (Forget about the bedroom scenes, it’s all about the property porn.)
But dark clouds are gathering as sexual jealousy rears its ugly head – the architect employed by the couple is, surprise, surprise, a gorgeous temptress in the form of 90210’s Arielle Kebbel. Meanwhile, Anastasia is chafing at the restrictions placed on her by her new husband, and dark forces from the past soon place lives in serious jeopardy. Oooh!
In addition to Kebbel, new members of the cast include Brant Daugherty (Pretty Little Liars) as Ana’s bodyguard and Superman himself Tyler Hoechlin (Supergirl) as author Boyce Fox. And in case you didn’t know, British popstrel Rita Ora returns, playing Mia Grey, Christian’s younger sister.
Fifty Shades Freed won’t trouble the Academy come Oscars time, but the series provides plenty of gratifying moments. What’s wrong with a little viewing pleasure after all?
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