Following on from the success of Fifty Shades of Grey (my review of which you can read here), Fifty Shades Darker is the second instalment based on the trilogy written by E.L.James. There has been much anticipation towards its release due to the fact that previous director Sam Taylor-Johnson sensationally quit after not agreeing to the way that E.L.James wanted her novel to be portrayed. There were a lot of rumours that E.L.James wanted the sex scenes to be more graphic and wouldn’t deviate the story line/dialogue from her original script at all. House of Cards director James Foley stepped up to the plate and actually did a very good job with what everyone knows is a poorly written script!
If you haven’t seen the first film, it follows Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) who meets and falls in love with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). However, Christian has a dark side to him in the bedroom, something which Anastasia struggles to understand. The film ended (spoiler alert) with Anastasia leaving the relationship. Fifty Shades Darker picks up not long after the split and sees Christian trying to win her back. However, this time Ana must also deal with unwanted attention from her new boss as well as being followed by one of Christians previous lovers. Compared to the first film, the story line – though very predictable – is a lot better. This might be partly due to the fact that it’s less about Christian’s weird sex rules and more about the two of them as a couple.
Surprisingly, considering the rumours, there really isn’t that much sex at all. It’s also nothing extreme or rude. Everything is very tasteful, there are no full frontal shots of either character, and what you do see fits into the scene and isn’t there for shock factor. It’s all very romantic – but again this might be because the two characters are now in love and actually there’s only one time that they use any kind of bondage, unlike the first film when it was constant.
Jamie and Dakota are just as good as before, their characters are more rounded this time and now that Dakota’s character isn’t just being subjected to Christian’s overly possessive ways she really comes out as her own person. Dakota manages to give out a vulnerability to Anastasia in terms of being torn over her feelings towards Christian, but there’s also a hidden toughness. She’s less of a pushover this time round which makes her a lot more likeable! Jamie is just as gorgeous as ever (sadly without his lovely Irish accent though) and there is a definite softening to his character. There’s more of Christian’s background given – through flashbacks – and the reasons behind why he is the way he is with women are slowly revealed. Jamie gives us this perfectly, and the fact that he is less demanding as a character means that he too is more likeable. Together Jamie and Dakota work perfectly, both on screen and off, which helps a lot when you have to do a lot of intimate scenes!
Overall, the story line follows the novel exactly so it’s not the best script you’ll ever see, but Jamie and Dakota do very well with it. It’s an easy watch and one you can enjoy with your girls. The soundtrack completely makes the film though! From the opening song – a gorgeous cover of Coldplay’s The Scientist by Corinne Bailey Rae – to the official song I Don’t Want to Live Forever sung by Zayn & Taylor Swift, the soundtrack takes you through a range of emotions and really highlights certain scenes in the film. There’s also music from Nick Jonas & Nicki Minaj, Sia, Halsey, John Legend and Kygo. I would recommend you see the film for the soundtrack alone! Fifty Shades Darker definitely won’t be the film of the year but actually it was better than I was anticipating. If you do go and see it then stick around to the end of the credits to get a tiny tease of the third and final instalment: Fifty Shades Freed.