Fifty Shades Darker Review – A Steamy, Romantic, Sex in Seattle, Romp

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Fifty Shades Darker, from Universal Pictures, brings to the screen a steamy, sex in Seattle sequel, that has our two young lovers rekindling their romance, refining their technique, revisiting boundaries and taking things to a whole new level.

Directed by James Foley, Fifty Shades Darker stars Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Marsha Gay Harden, Rita Ora, Bella Heathcote, Eloise Mumford, Max Martini, Victor Rasuk, Luke Grimes Andrew, Airlie, Robinne Lee, Amy Price-Francis and Kim Basinger as Elena Lincoln. Fifty Shades Darker was written by Niall Leonard based on the novels by E.L. James.

Fifty Shades Darker begins with a sleeping Christian, played by Jamie Dornan, having nightmares of his childhood, when his birth mother, whom he describes as a crack addict, was being beaten and he abused.

The film moves quickly to the front door of a recently single Anastasia Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, receiving roses from her ex-lover Christian Grey. She walks to the trash to toss them and has second thoughts not out of sentimentality simply over the beauty of the perfect roses.

After leaving Christian, Anastasia moved on was able to find employment doing executive assistant work as Senior Editor to Jack Hyde, played by Eric Johnson, one of the few independent book publishers in Seattle, where words on an actual page, bound by two covers, are still the draw.

Unbeknownst to her as she is leaving for the day, Jack Hyde takes a lingering look as she walks out of the office. On her way to a photography exhibit she is meeting Jose, the photographer, played by Victor Rasuk. Walking in the gallery she is overwhelmed, as is the audience, as six of the larger pieces are black and whites of her, and they are very beautiful, which sell almost immediately to a mysterious buyer.

When she turns there he is, Christian Grey, who wants her back, and while not acting desperate at least says "please" and asks her to dinner. Soon the two are at dinner, and Ana trying to be Miss Independent, doesn’t allow the billionaire to totally take over, and orders her choice for dinner. It is obvious she is aware of the limited power she has at this point in the relationship. He wants her back and she is aware of what he does when he wants something.

The first date the two have after their separation ends at the door of Ana’s apartment, a passionate kiss goodnight and like any well-intentioned, keep the memory alive, hopeful lover he leaves her with a gift. A modern romance, a modern gift.

Soon the steam is rising as the young lovers are tumbling in the sheets. As the two have a past history, there isn’t a lot of fumbling or other jitters as the two are well aware of the others boundaries and desires.

Fifty Shades Darker, for the 1% of the population who may not know is, in reality, a Sex in the City, one couple style erotic story line with plenty of bedroom, boardroom and other room romps.

Christian, as most know is fighting the demons of his past which manifest itself in sexual activity that is sadistic, S&M, submission/slave/bondage and outside, at least I think, 99% of the populations, thinking.

The sexual activity is all consensual. For every action, the question of consent is always asked. And the two are young, of a new generation, wealthy, independent, and generally in love. And as they are free enough to make their own bedroom decisions, they do.

Once Anastasia and Christian rekindle the romance, she is back again at the killer apartment that overlooks Elliott Bay and the Seattle, Washington skyline.

Wasting no time, he acquires the publishing company she works for and soon the reasons behind the Jack Hyde’s inability to keep good employees becomes obvious and one of the plot points for the final film in the trilogy.

We meet Christian parents, Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, played by Marsha Gay Harden and Carrick Grey, played by Andrew Airlie as well as his sister Mia, played by Rita Ora and brother Elliot played by Luke Grimes.

Kim Basinger plays Elena Lincoln, a lifelong friend and neighbor of the Grey’s. She is also a business partner in one of Christian’s many holdings. They have a shared past and a mysterious secret that she is more than willing to use as leverage to keep anything permanent from his life.  

Fifty Shades Darker is an unexpectedly good film. Granted the fast action doesn’t have the same meaning as in other box office choices and still the writers created a plausible story line behind the main erotica plot points. A modern day Cinderella story, billionaire meets working girl, and as much as she is willing they explore his lifestyle.

The sex scenes build throughout the film, from rekindling welcome back, after the break up, sex, all about pleasure, to hooked and how far can we go sexual activity. Fifty Shades Darker is about bondage and to the degree that it is allowed the film goes. The film also shows a fully decked out bondage room with everything one can think of and plenty of other items that are best left for another day.

The entire cast handles the challenging material seamlessly. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, and as sex scenes are often the most difficult to film, and those within Fifty Shades are outside of the normal, create the illusion of genuineness.

The writers paid homage to another Cinderella film story, Working Girl, which starred Ms. Johnson's real life mom, Melanie Griffith. Keep your ears tuned to the exchange between Ana's assistant, Hannah, played by Ashleigh LaThrop, after Ana receives a promotion.

Fifty Shades Darker leaves a few loose ends and for those who stay through the end credits a teaser trailer to Fifty Shades Freed, due out February 2018, plays. So, with one more installment in the trilogy the burned bridges, deviant pasts, romantic futures and the life, love and hopes of Christian and Anastasia fans will have to wait until 2018 for answers in one final explosive ending.

Fifty Shades Darker is playing everywhere. See it if you dare.