There have always been differences between the books and the movies in the Fifty Shades franchise. Sadly, this means the movie has sometimes cut out some of the most memorable scenes. Which, in this case, means there is a little less nookie in the movie than in the books. Although, fans might really enjoy one sticky scene involving a little ice cream. So, how much sex actually ended up happening in the third and final movie in the trilogy? By our count, there were five full-on sex scenes in Fifty Shades Freed, and a few more erotic scenes that were something a little trickier.
As a sort of connoisseur of cinematic guilty pleasures, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy is among my favorite movie franchises. It’s basically the romantic drama equivalent of a B-level action flick — all about the visceral pleasures without any real attempt at satisfying traditional standards of coherence, orienting its decidedly self-aware storytelling entirely around both physical and emotional titillation. In other words, it’s just the best.
“Fifty Shades Freed” manages to take the series to all new heights. Full disclosure, I have not read these books — the movies are tinged with a sort of goofy irony that I worry the books are too earnest to match. So if you have read the books, what I’m about to discuss probably isn’t news to you.
But for me, as someone for whom the movies are my primary point of reference, the ending of “Fifty Shades Freed” blew my mind for how weirdly oblivious it appeared to be to the point it seemed to have spent its entire running time trying to make. It was one last inexplicable gag to make me question whether I was laughing at or with the movie.
This kind of thing is the real joy of “Fifty Shades” for me — not being able to tell if I’m getting out of it what the filmmakers want me to get out out of it is part of the fun. There are undeniable deadpan comedy elements in all three movies, but I can’t tell how hard they’re winking at me.
The conclusion of “Fifty Shades Freed” is the greatest of these moments. That it plays out roughly the same as it did in the book (I looked it up after I saw the movie). That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a joke in its movie form, but it’s tough to tell. Anyway, let’s get right into it.
The twist in “Freed” is that Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and villain Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) were both orphans who lived in the same foster home when they were young children. And the reason Hyde was so incredibly mad at Ana (Dakota Johnson) — and Christian both that he tried to kidnap Ana and did actually kidnap Christian’s sister Mia (Rita Ora) — is because Christian was adopted by rich people and Hyde was not. Christian, upon discovering all this, comes to the correct conclusion: Maybe he, too, would have been a terrible person had he and Hyde swapped places. (Ignore the fact that these movies have never really depicted Christian as a “good” person).
It’s true that environment and upbringing have a major impact on what kind of adult a kid will turn out to be, and Christian is absolutely correct to ponder what kind of person he would be if his and Hyde’s roles were reversed. And since Christian at that moment has also finally come around on having kids after being adamantly opposed to the prospect the entire movie, the message here seems pretty clear: Christian and Ana should adopt some kids! They could use their ridiculous billionaire means and the lessons learned from the whole Hyde situation to maybe help some other kids from taking that same turn, and just make their lives better in general. Use all the wealth to do something positive for the world! By all the normal ways stories work, that feels like the entire point of the Hyde arc.
It doesn’t take long for the sex to start, either. The first scene happens just a few short minutes after Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele say their “I do’s,” as there is some sex during the opening credits. This is not full-on Fifty Shades bondage sex, though. It’s pretty vanilla.
Next, the couple has sex on a boat. This is a very memorable scene from the books. In E.L. James’ work, Christian cuffs Ana roughly, and she later has marks on her wrists that she has to cover up. The movie downplays how rough the sex is, but the handcuffs are still a big part of the scene.
The next sex scene might really rev your engine up. Christian takes his Audi out and brings Ana with him so they can go over the plans for the house he just bought. Then, she asks to drive his car and he surprisingly says yes! Next, there’s a crazy car chase scene in which Christian barks orders at Ana and she makes some sweet moves, eventually pulling into a parking lot where — finally! — the couple has sex. In public.
In Colorado, the couple takes a bath together, but we don’t get a really intense sex scene until Ana gets up in the middle of the night to eat some ice cream. Christian follows her and she takes the initiative into foreplay, placing ice cream strategically on his body and licking it. Oral sex and then sex atop the kitchen table quickly follow.
Thanks to honeymoon and vacation shenanigans, it takes a while to get to the Red Room. Things are going well in her relationship with Christian, and Ana is starting to explore her kinky side. The couple heads into the red room, where Ana is tasked with opening a drawer and pulling out a butt plug. This scene is intermixed with shots of Ana thinking about the sex at work the next day.
Unfortunately, following these five scenes, Ana and Christian’s relationship starts to go a little south. First, she disobeys Christian and gets drunk with Kate despite his wish that she head home and not go out that evening. He is not pleased and they do go to the Red Room, but they don’t really have mutual sex. Instead, he punishes her with a vibrator until she uses their safe word, “Red.”
Following a whole bunch of other thriller shenanigans featuring Ana and Jack Hyde, who is prominent in the early trailers for Fifty Shades Freed, we get one more scene in the Red Room. We don’t actually get to see Ana and Christian do the deed, but she’s dressed to kill and it’s totally implied.