I Watched ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ So You Don’t Have To
Photo via Universal Studios

I went to a Quaker meeting once as part of a religious studies course in college. Attending “Friends Gatherings,” as they’re called, never became a habit, but I remember my one visit as a pleasant, serene experience. Conversely, I have made a habit of attending opening screenings of the Fifty Shades film franchise despite the fact that each iteration leaves me feeling hopeless.

Last night I witnessed Fifty Shades Freed, the conclusion of the trilogy. The series is written by erotic Twilight fan fiction writer-turned-rich-person E L James, which is Spanish for “The James,” which is a river in Virginia into which I would like to fling every copy in existence.

Ugh I’m sorry. There is enough negativity in the world. It’s true that if you’re looking for a semi-taboo escapist moviegoing experience, FSF checks a lot of boxes. There are attractive naked people, sports cars, outfit changes and scattered one-liners. You want more boxes? Well, there’s a woman making deft career decisions, a shadowy villain, a courtroom and butt plugs. If you liked the other movies, you’ll like this one. If you haven’t seen it, spoilers ahead.

The movie opens at the wedding of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. They decide to leave soon after the first dance, but not before Ana inexplicably changes into a pantsuit. Is this typical?

They then take his — no, THEIR — private jet to Paris. Then to Greece or something. Christian adds another charm to her bracelet. The charms: a jet, the Eiffel Tower… are you enjoying all the meaning? They have missionary sex, which you might think is vanilla, but I think is just a nice way for these two people to enjoy each other’s bodies. Speaking of which, Jamie Dornan has a back-pack (a six-pack-looking structure on his back).

It does seem like a nice honeymoon, but things turn dark when we cut to an ominous figure breaking into a “SERVER ROOM” to plant a timed device. The tension heightens, I think. When Christian learns of the server room intruder, he asks, “Did he get any data?”

You’ve gotta protect your data.

Then apparently there was a sex scene because I wrote in my notebook “biceps, no peen.” A great way to feel comfortable in a soft core porn theater, by the way, is to vigorously scribble in a notebook in the dark.

What’s married life look like for these two? Suddenly, Anastasia Steele-ahem-Grey, has a house staff. But, being a normal person like you and me, she is uncomfortable with the concept. One evening, while cooking her own dinner thankyouverymuch she drops an offhand pregnancy comment and we quickly learn that Christian is not ready for kids yet. Another subtle plot device. I think he has some growing to do first or something like that, but he’s so mysterious it’s sometimes hard to tell what’s going on in that gorgeous head of his.

Later, there’s a 15-minute Audi commercial wherein Christian drives like a loon all over the countryside but still uses his turn signal before heading down a dirt road. And guess what? He bought her a house! And the architect who’s going to knock it down is a flirty minx named Gia Matteo who looks like an Ivanka Trump impersonator. Do you think she greeted Anastasia as warmly as she greeted Christian? She most certainly did not! There’s trouble brewing.

Anastasia soon whips her claws out and claims her man, thus earning the right to drive the Audi supercar. But unfortunately they’re now being followed by a shitty Dodge Durango. Mysterious. I’m not going to tell you if Ana and Christian get away but they do and she’s so revved up by the thrill of it that she climbs on top of him right there in the parking lot! SORDID. This lovemaking scene is nipple-free, per my notes.

Christian orders a background check on this Dodge-y character immediately. He wants to know “where he comes from, his shoe size — everything.” This guy knows how to ask the right questions, which is how he got to the top. (He also later sings “Maybe I’m Amazed” while playing the piano in Aspen. Where does it end with this guy? Jamie Dornan can actually carry a tune quite well, if you were wondering.)

One thing I love were all the authentic snippets of conversation that brought the world to life. At one point Ana goes to a bar with a friend (against Christian’s wishes) and when we cut to them leaving, the friend is in the middle of this sentence: “And you know me — I hate jellyfish.” Really painted a picture.

Best love scene: Anastasia awakens during the night after a nightmare about the Chateau Versailles. She heads into the kitchen to eat some ice cream. Christian then goes to the kitchen and opens the refrigerator when he hears her behind him. “I was looking for you!” he says. (In the fridge? Kinda dark…) Then she rubs ice cream on his nipples and the top of his pubic hair. There was plenty of high-definition close-up camera work and I will not be eating ice cream for at least a few days.

Later in the movie, Ana runs to the bathroom to vomit. I, a savvy viewer, know this to be a symptom of pregnancy. But I don’t care about that. What I care about is that she bolts into a stall, makes a retching noise, and then there is a plop. Not a sploosh, but a plop. We all know these sounds from our own lives. A plop is very different from a sploosh.

The Dodge returns. A tertiary character goes missing. Ana needs five million in cash, so she goes to the bank.

Teller: I can’t give you an amount that large.

Ana: But I need it.

Teller: Okay.

Viewers beware: I tried this life hack. It didn’t work.

Anyway, I hope I didn’t spoil too much, but I can assure you everything gets tied up in a series of nice little bows. And now we are freed from this franchise. I’ll leave you with the last line of the movie:

“You’re topping from the bottom Mrs. Grey. But I can live with that.”

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  • Maren Lindquist

    Oh my god I lost it at “Spanish for ‘The James'”. Hilarious write up.

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  • vss

    “Biceps, no peen”- How my disappointment is described with movies and tv most often.

  • Samantha Serbus

    this made me LOL at work – thank you!

    • Caroline

      Oh my goodness, me too! Brandon- you need to start a series on movie recaps!!!

    • Susan W

      Me too! I second Caroline. More hilarious recaps from Brandon!

  • Paige

    I feel like the friend who doesn’t like jellyfish might be the most flushed out character in all the movies.

  • Savannah Ellis

    This was a wonderful synopsis thank you so much

  • I am absolutely crying with hilarity at this sentence: “And you know me — I hate jellyfish.” Really painted a picture. Best review I have ever read!

  • Kattigans

    Viewers beware: I tried this life hack. It didn’t work. –> LOL

  • Christian

    I basically giggled my way through lunch over this review. Thank you. High quality entertainment. Would read again. A+

  • Amaze

  • LMFAOOOOOOO. I need to see the movie simply to satisfy my urge to watch your spoilers play out in all their cringy on-screen glory. This write-up is gold.

    Madeline, classicallycontemporary.com

  • Helen

    I have been waiting for a new Brandon piece FOR SO LONG. THANK YOU MR THANK YOU BRANDON THANK YOU LORD x

  • Hannah Degn

    I’m almost sad that was the last movie of the franchise because this write up was THAT GOOD.

    • Amelia Diamond

      same i lol’d, for real (aka audibly) in public while reading it

  • Daniel Szilagyi

    Haha nicely done, this was funny!

    Funny enough my girlfriend was an extra in the second movie and this one, she mentioned that both the main characters did not get along well off camera at all, so i can’t imagine how hard this movie must have been to “try” and be romantic with another actor/actress and absolutely hating it

  • Amelia Diamond

    came here to say a lot of things, but really, what sums it all up is how much I love the word peen, and take so much delight when others use it

  • Jessica

    I’m so happy that so far no one has come to the comments to defend the merits of this horrible movie! My faith in humanity is restored.

  • LOL

  • christinedeibel

    I cannot even begin to express to you how happy I am to see the end of this franchise. I read the series with a book club when it came out (insert wry vomit emoji). While everyone else was out buying handcuffs, plugs and researching the proper use of a benwa ball (spoiler: it isn’t the way they are used in the movie) while staring accusingly at their mates because they so clearly “didn’t love them enough to be this exciting”, I was chucking my kindle across the room and assembling a list of synonyms and adjectives. I wanted to send them to “The James” so she could expand her 28 (at most) word vocabulary. I get that the thesaurus has got out of style so I thought I could help her out with that at least. I believe I actually became dumber from those 3 books and I have sincere sympathy for the film crew, writers and actors for having to make SOMETHING out of that dribble.

  • Ana Beatriz Quinto

    I’m dead

  • So funny Brandon. It’s all the better given that it’s written by a guy!

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

  • BK

    lol love this, also love how Rolling Stone gave it literally zero stars

  • Nadine

    THE JAMES holy mackerel

  • Michelle

    HILARIOUS! Thank you for this!!

  • Incredible review. I can’t wait to book my tickets. Fingers cross I can get hold of some.

  • Monica Pajarin

    “What I care about is that she bolts into a stall, makes a retching noise, and then there is a plop. Not a sploosh, but a plop. We all know these sounds from our own lives. A plop is very different from a sploosh.” Had a laughing fit at work, everyone’s asking to hear the joke but I really can’t say it jajaja please let’s have more of you reviewing movies!! “biceps, no peen”!

  • M B

    “Christian orders a background check on this Dodge-y character immediately.”

    Goddamn it.

  • me

    i’ve never seen the flicks (or read the books, for that matter).

    but: i totally love brandon’s reviews.

    thanks, bro : )

  • Dani Heifetz

    This is better than the movie, which I guess isn’t saying much, but still… so funny! please review more movies

  • Jayne Kim


  • starryhye

    This is exactly the type of synopsis I needed. Bravo

  • demyfloor

    Haha I already love this review better than the actual movie.

  • Basil

    Thank you for this great service! This stupid movie is the “baby club” movie at our local cinema (meaning a weekday morning screening where you can take your babies). Is that really appropriate? Poor babies

  • Because a control freak like Grey or, simply, a couple, don’t talk about contraception but let things happen…
    I remember that I once read Madonna’s opinion about 50 Shades and it was something like it’s clearly a book written by somebody who doesn’t know anything about sex. And psychology, I add.

  • Mara Ferguson

    Omg, I giggled the entire way through. Bravo.

  • Katie

    Love this so much

  • Joey


  • Carlotta

    I love this review. I only saw the first movie in Spain, during a university exchange program – best line ever was “Yo follo. Duro.”, being the Spanish version for “I fuck. Hard.”

  • Taylor

    The James already has enough trash floating in it no thank you!

  • Bri

    i laughed so hard while reading this that someone in my office thought i was sobbing

  • Elisaaa

    wait so is the conclusion that she is an owl and regurgitated a pellet because that is what the “plop” discussion led me to conclude

  • Susan W

    I am DYING laughing at my desk right now. (actual audible laughing!) Thanks for saving me from seeing the movie and for embarrassing me at work.

  • alexia


  • Shari

    I can’t, I just can’t…..stop laughing. My stomach hurts. I might have to “plop” not “swoosh” if I don’t stop. Brandon, you have totally made my day. Write on movies, write on books, write on anything – just write. As they say here in the south, you are a mess, boy! Look how many people you made laugh. You are special, jellyfish.

  • Autumn

    Too bad I’m not online dating anymore because my profile intro would be “biceps, no peen”