Filipino movies

Movie reviews: What critics are saying about ‘Fifty Shades Darker’
Movie reviews: What critics are saying about ‘Fifty Shades Darker’

MANILA, Philippines – Fifty Shades Darker has already hit theaters and reviews are pouring in.

In the second installment in the Fifty Shades movies, based on the book series by EL James, Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) woos Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) back, agreeing to lay off sexual contracts and the BDSM lifestyle if they rekindled their relationship.

Things get complicated, however, when Christian’s ex-lovers come back from the past: Leila Williams (Bella Heathcote) begins to stalk Ana, while Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger), aka Mrs Robinson, tries to sow discord in their relationship.


The sequel to Fifty Shades movie trilogy changed hands this year, from director Sam Taylor-Johnson to James Foley. Fifty Shades author EL James’ husband, Niall Leonard, wrote the screenplay for this sequel, taking on the role from Kelly Marcel.

The movie has not been met with rave reviews, with many critics commenting on the lack of chemistry between the two stars and even Christian and Ana’s unhealthy relationship. 

Here’s what the critics have said about Fifty Shades Darker.

The Independent

Photo courtesy of United International Pictures

Geoffrey Macnab, writing for The Independent, wasn’t happy with the film, rating it one star out of 5.

He quotes Ana to describe the film: “I was being romantic and then you just go and distract me with your kinky f***ery.”

Fifty Shades Darker, he says, is a regular romantic movie, interspersed with graphic sex scenes. Christian, in his attempt to have a regular relationship with Ana, becomes a dull personality towards the end, and the movie’s plot is thin – “Fifty Shades Darker is an ordeal to watch not because of its gothic eroticism but because of its utter blandness,” wrote Macnab.

New York Times

Photo courtesy of United International Pictures

New York Times movie critic Manohla Dargis wasn’t impressed either, saying that at as the movie progressed at the all-media screening she attended, the audience began to “shift and to harmonize as skeptics and true believers alike became as one, joined by the display of so much awfulness.”

Dargis praised Fifty Shades of Grey director Taylor-Johnson and Fifty Shades star Dakota Johnson, but found that the sequel, helmed by Foley, didn’t match up.

Fifty Shades Darker suffered from continuity issues, she said, along with abrupt changes in tone and flat performances.

The Hollywood Reporter

Photo courtesy of United International Pictures

On The Hollywood Reporter, John DeFore says this is bottom line of his film review for Fifty Shades Darker: “Big-budget Skinemax, as dull as the first installment.”

The plot doesn’t quite live up to the title’s promise, he says, as the the film delivers more romance than the usual romcom.

DeFore criticized the chemistry between Johnson and Dornan, the dialogue between their characters, and the plot detail of Ana being swept away by Christian’s wealth.


Screengrab from YouTube/Universal Pictures UK

Josh Lasser of IGN also criticizes Johnson and Dornan’s chemistry as Ana and Christian, not only because Ana keeps changing her mind about what she wants, but also because she is constantly annoyed by what he does.

“That magnetism simply isn’t present. There is no steam, there is no heat. An attempt is made to ignite the flames of romance via the soundtrack but it is a poor substitute.” writes Lasser.

Lasser also noted that lines from the film drew laughter from the theater’s audience, and that many of Fifty Shades Darker‘s plotlines were left unexplored.


Photo courtesy of United International Pictures

On Collider, critic Matt Goldberg gave Fifty Shades Darker an F rating, and also lamented the lack of chemistry between the two stars.

Subplots like the appearance of Christian’s exes Leila and Elena don’t make much of an impact on the overall plot, which focuses on Ana and Christian’s relationship, he says.

“But where Fifty Shades Darker really falls apart is in trying to sell us on the notion that Christian Grey should be with anybody,” wrote Goldberg. Ana’s and Christian’s personalities don’t match up, he says, as Ana is presented as a strong, independent woman – not someone who would enter a relationship with insecure, domineering Christian.

Fifty Shades isn’t about learning different lifestyles and crafting unique characters as much as it’s trying to pass off a toxic romance as an aspirational ideal,” finished Goldberg.

Photo courtesy of United International Pictures

Fifty Shades Darker was released in the Philippines on February 8. 

Will you watch Fifty Shades Darker? Let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments below! –

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