They have tasteful, from-a-distance, no-nudity sex
4. “You own this?” she asks, incredulous. Hello? He’s spent two movies taking her up in gliders and helicopters and out on million-dollar sailboats. She’s surprised he has a private jet? Ana actually seems to remember what happened in those films even less than I do.
5. Paris! If the Eiffel Tower didn’t give it away, the movie adds the Arc de Triomphe as a secondary clue. They go to the opera. They hold hands. This may be the worst advertisement for marriage of all time. Your most conservative grandparent is probably getting bored about now.
6. They continue on to the Cote d’Azur. At a topless beach, Ana wants to take off her bikini top, but lifelong-pervert-turned-sudden-prude Christian forbids it. When he goes for a swim, she takes her top off anyway, which may be the most self-actualized thing she’s done in all the movies combined. Progress, I guess.
7. They go back to the luxury yacht they’re staying on. Christian, still peeved that Ana disobeyed him re: toplessness, pulls out handcuffs. She seems aghast. Once again, it appears that she has no recollection of the previous two movies. Is there a roofie subtext to the whole trilogy that is never made explicit?
8. Alas, the honeymoon is cut short. A female subordinate of Christian’s calls to tell him that someone broke into his company’s “server room” and detonated an “explosive device.” Watching the security footage, Ana recognizes the intruder as Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), the former boss who attacked her and was essentially fired by Christian. “Why would he do that?” Ana asks. Really? Crazy or not, his motive seems pretty self-evident. Or is it?
8b. As I noted in the spoilereview for the previous movie, with the exception of security guards, virtually all subordinates in the Fifty Shades universe are female. I may be missing some small exception somewhere, but perhaps the most consistently clear message of the whole series is that women always work for men and not the reverse.
9. Back at Christian’s penthouse apartment in Seattle, Ana meets the staff and is flabbergasted at the question of how she wishes to “run the household.” I swear she was unconscious throughout the first two movies. How I envy her.
10. Ana dismisses the cook for the night because she wants to make dinner. Christian: “I could get used to you in the kitchen.” Ana: “Barefoot and pregnant?” Christian is obviously nonplussed by this response, and it doesn’t appear that it’s over Ana’s possible neglect of footwear. This is what in introductory screenwriting classes is called foreshadowing.
11. Ana shows up at work at the publishing house that exists to imply that she has a “job” even though she almost never seems to perform it. There she learns that she has been promoted to “fiction editor.” A subordinate, Liz (of course: a woman), tartly points out that the promotion occurred despite the fact that “you weren’t even here.”
11a. Maybe she was only acting fiction editor? Or maybe this movie has no better sense of what’s already transpired than Ana herself?
Unless I’m sorely mistaken, Ana was already promoted to fiction editor in the last movie, after Christian fired the previous fiction editor, her sexually assaulting then-boss, Jack
11b. It’s also very much worth noting that in the last movie Christian purchased the publishing house where Ana works, becoming, as they joke repeatedly, her “boss’s boss’s boss.” (Funny!) Could this have played a role in Ana’s meteoric rise from just-graduated newbie assistant to senior editor? Duh, although no one seems to notice but that cranky subordinate Liz. (More on her later.) One could almost imagine Fifty Shades Freed having a deeper, subversive level, in which the wildly rich, constantly self-indulgent Ana and Christian are the villains, and their many lower-income foils and employees are the heroes. But this is a movie that could hardly make more conspicuous that it doesn’t have “levels.”