I Watched Fifty Shades Darker So You Don’t Have To

Hello. I am a straight, white, cis male and last night I watched Fifty Shades Darker, the latest cinematic installment of E.L. James’ smut trilogy. When I was a kid watching movies with my parents, I became intensely uncomfortable during the kissy scenes. I longed for the passion to end and the palpable weirdness in the room to dissipate so I could go back to just enjoying the movie. In Fifty Shades Darker, I experienced the reverse — the kissy (and spanky) sequences offered the only respite from the hideously painful storytelling.

After the opening sequence (a camera diving into a big flower; they strapped a GoPro to a bumblebee), the movie begins with Anastasia receiving a basket of flowers. From whom!? She moves to throw the bouquet in the trash but can’t, because it’s just too freaking beautiful. I wonder if this subtle moment symbolizes that she isn’t quite finished with Christian Grey.

Anastasia goes to work as an assistant at a publishing company and her new boss has a douchebag haircut, like Zac Efron’s hair double in the new Baywatch. He also looks at her butt. Maybe he is bad news! Jose, her BFF and Mayor of the Friendzone, hosts an art exhibition and on display are a bunch of giant portraits of Anastasia. She’s surprised by them even though she clearly posed for them. Christian shows up because he is omniscient and non-diegetic Spanish guitar music kicks in while Anastasia’s inner goddess does the merengue.


He wants to talk over dinner and she says no and he asks again and she says okay. To convince her to get back together, he tells Ana, “my mother was an addict — crack.” So she agrees to be his girlfriend, and they go have sex with their nipples and butts but no visible genitals. In the morning, Christian tries to give Ana $24,000 but she rejects it, so he calls someone and deposits the money into her account, boasting that he “makes that kind of money every fifteen minutes.” Wow, he’s so rich. If someone offered me that much money, I’d just take it. But not Ana, she’s different.

Next, it’s time to go to a fancy party. I watch Anastasia don lingerie that squeezes her butt into weird shapes. Christian shows up and they put on masks for no reason. At the party, other characters offer bland exposition until Christian spanks Ana in his childhood bedroom. One guy in a mask with a douchebag haircut (wonder who?) takes a picture of a picture of Christian Grey on the wall because he doesn’t know how to use Google image search. This is, I assume, supposed to justify the “masquerade” device, because nothing else does.


They drive off in a parade of SUVs presumably to rob a bank or run for president (what’s the dif, amirite?) but instead they go to Christian’s personal parking garage, where someone has Lemonaded Ana’s car with a bucket of paint. Sensing danger, he takes her to his boat, although he could have taken her anywhere because he “has lots of places.” Wow, he’s so rich and he looks like a peregrine falcon — I’m totally rooting for him. They wake up the next morning to find themselves in a Zayn/T-Swift music video and through the changing camera angles, we learn that the boat is named “The Grace.” Not “Grace,” after his adoptive mother, but “The Grace.” This has been archived in the Library of Congress as the worst use of a definite article in the history of fictional boat naming.


Ana knees her boss in the testicles and then takes his job, subsequently earning the position when she meets with top execs and floats the revolutionary idea to “expand the readership.” She assures her former coworker and now subordinate, “I don’t expect you to fetch coffee for me unless you’re getting some for yourself, and we’ll make the rest up as we go along.” Best written line of dialogue in the movie, and it’s straight out of the mouth of Dakota’s mother Melanie in the 1988 MASTERPIECE Working Girl.

Christian fingers Ana in the back of a crowded elevator. This scene actually got my blood pumping, but that may be due to my desperate fear of crowded elevators. Anastasia wants to get to know the real Christian, so he draws a square on his chest with lipstick. Later, she wipes it off with a sponge in the shower. Symbolic of her breaking down his emotional barriers? I can’t be sure. Christian has a nightmare about secondhand smoke and moans, “No! No!,” so we know it’s a bad dream.


In the morning he does four pull-ups without a shirt and then transitions into the yoga stance “basking lizard” on a pommel horse, which is the least thrilling way to use a pommel horse. After he tragically survives the time-honored plot device of a vehicular accident, he realizes what’s important — fuzzy handcuffing his and Ana’s hearts together for eternity.

Just before the credits roll, we learn that the disgraced boss now lives in the forest and smokes cigarettes.

There you go! Now you don’t need to see it. Go see LEGO Batman instead, or if it’s thrills you seek, sit inside with your S/O and just watch some good ol’ free internet porn.

The End.

Photo courtesy of Fifty Shades of Gray; gifs via Universal Pictures

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  • This movie was flat out awful. I read the books becaue I was intrigued, but somehow this movie shed a light on the series that I was often hearing but couldn’t quite come to terms with. Now, I see how this film truly is a patriarchal depiction of the perfect romance. He has his issues, but he beats the odds and decides to love this “different” girl. So many red flags – at one point Ana says something about how Christian wants to own her. That’s literally the entire theme of this movie – the guy wants this girl to do anything he says and be a piece of meat that he can tie up and then call it love. I actually laughed during several “dramatic” points of this garbage. I love the actors but wow, we shouldn’t strive to have this relationship by any means. Ta ta!

    • _lauristia

      You said it! PIECE OF GARBAGE

    • Meg S

      I read one book because everyone at work was RAVING ABOUT THEM. I don’t think I finished it? Luckily the library has ebooks so I didn’t have to spend money on it or be caught dead with a physical copy in my hands. As long as no one looked in my kindle app, I was golden. I returned and deleted it as soon as I was done not-finishing more than half the book.

      The movies look just as bad. I moved offices between book and movie, and people I worked with and liked/respected were all excited to see it. There was a lot of internalized screaming on my part.

      If I want to see someone get spanked, I’ll watch The Secretary.

  • noodle

    Best summary ever…

  • Sara

    the writing in this article is already 10x better than the writing in the book. matzel.


  • 😂😂😂

  • Anni Tabagua

    this article is fabulous!

  • Harling Ross

    “Maybe he is bad news!” –> dead.

  • I’m a big romance novel reader, so I hate these books because they give the romance genre a bad name. I imagine watching the book acted out in real time is so much more painful than the few hours it took me to read it because I skipped all but the first two sex scenes.

    Spank. Gasp. Virginal blush. Christian’s dick. Orgasm. Rinse. Repeat.

    • Michelle Kirkwood

      For real—I only got halfway through the first book before I lost interest—honestly,it was the least erotic romance I’ve ever read—it had all the erotic appeal of a wet bowl of spaghetti. That’s how lame as hell it was. I can’t figure out how FSOG got to be so popular when there are probably better books on the same subject. I will say that the first movie was actually pretty good though.

  • Louise

    This made me actually laugh out loud. Hilarious. Your writing kind of reminds me of Brennan Kilbane from ITG – which is definitely a good thing!

  • Leslie Ortiz

    Laughed out loud at my desk. Thank you Brandon. I haven’t seen the movies but did read the books because Twilight. *sigh*. I know, I know. I’m sorry you had to suffer through it.

  • missmg

    hahah this was hilarious “He wants to talk over dinner and she says no and he asks again and she says okay” LOL

  • Apeksha


  • HAHAHAH. yes. so good.

  • k

    Brandon: please PLEASE come back soon and watch (and summarize) more trash movies so we dont have to. Seriously.

    Thanks, dude.

    • Michelle Kirkwood

      This was funny—I was actually cracking up while reading the entire article! I mean,the film sounds so stupid and lame,you can’t help but make fun of it!

  • Katrina Elizabeth

    I had to check the comments to see if this is actually what happens in the movie – this just sounds insane. I’ve never read or watched this garbage and I thank you for sparing me.

  • Alana Vieira

    Damn, you are making me want to watch the movie! This is just too comical!

  • Boo Yakasha

    Loved this, thank you.

  • Sabah Malik

    “This scene actually got my blood pumping, but that may be due to my desperate fear of crowded elevators.’ best

  • elina

    Thank you so much!!!!)

  • Jana from janatoldme.com

    Oh gosh, I laughed my head off! Thank you!

  • Isn’t there a creepy tween stalker in this one? I saw a trailer one time.

  • This is the best thing I have ever read. Ever. I now want to see it so I can laugh at everything this article mentions.

  • This is hilarious!!!

  • b_rose96

    This was amazing, I was sort of regretting not going to see the movie but I’m glad to know I didn’t miss out on much. Brandon, you should review Logan next. I just watched it and would very much so have appreciated a detailed play by play instead.