Our recap of the E.L. James book takes a look at the Fifty Shades Darker story
Universal Pictures‘ Fifty Shades Darker opens in theaters on February 10, a few days before Valentine’s Day. It’s the follow-up to 2015’s Fifty Shades of Grey, based on the 2011 novel by E.L. James, and will be followed by Fifty Shades Freed in 2018. The books became a sensation and sparked a surge of erotic novel purchases. As fans know, the trilogy is the story of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson), an innocent virgin who meets mogul Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) when she interviews him for her college paper. He takes an interest in her, and reveals that his only relationships are BDSM, with him as the dominant and the women he’s with as submissives. He gives her a contract to sign with all the rules, though that all goes out the window when they begin to fall for each other. Ana is hesitant to take part, but she is curious about the lifestyle. In the first film, she breaks up with Christian after asking him to treat her the way he wants to, which involves actually hurting her.
The series, before the first film came out, had sold over 125 million copies worldwide, though it started off as Twilight fan fiction. James was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. If you’re interested in what we may be seeing, you can pick up the book, or we can help you out with our handy guide to the Fifty Shades Darker story. After all, sometimes knowing what’s coming makes watching the movie more fun.
The story begins shortly after Anastasia and Christian break up. Ana is terribly upset, but has just acquired a job as personal assistant to Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), who is the editor at Seattle Independent Publishing (SIP). Christian emails Ana to ask if she needs a ride to the photo exhibition her friend José is having in Portland. She agrees, wanting to see him again. When they get there, she realizes that many of José’s pictures are of her. Christian is jealous, purchases all of them and convinces Ana to go out to dinner with him. While they’re eating, he tells her that he wants to resume the relationship, but with “no rules and no punishments” as she originally wanted. Meanwhile, Jack continually asks Ana out, making her very uncomfortable.
Christian tells Ana that he bought SIP, which she is not happy about. Despite flirty emails back and forth, she feels that it’s controlling. It’s revealed to be very controlling indeed when she learns that he’s arranged it so she can’t go on a work trip to New York with Jack. As the relationship progresses, Christian slowly begins to reveal more about himself and his past, allowing Ana to touch his chest (which we see in the trailer), something he has never allowed anyone to do. Fans will remember that Christian’s mother was a prostitute, and her pimp burned him on the chest with cigarettes. His mother died when he was a very small child and he was locked in a room with her body for days. While sleeping in the room with Christian, Ana sees a woman at the foot of her bed, but she disappears.
Things at work are getting tougher with Jack’s constant advances, and Christian constantly whisks Ana off to events like a masquerade ball at his parents’ house. Here we have the famous scene where Ana dresses in her silver gown and is given a silver mask to go with it. During the party, the single ladies are auctioned off for charity. As Christian would never let anyone else put a hand on Ana, he purchases a dance with her for $100,000. She runs into Elena (Kim Basinger) later at the party. As you may recall, Elena was a friend of Christian’s mother (Marcia Gay Harden) who secretly became a dominant to Christian’s submissive when he was 15-years old, committing statutory rape. Christian still considers her a friend, but Ana thinks she’s a criminal. Elena is terribly jealous of Ana as she’s a girlfriend and not simply a submissive. She begins trying to cause problems for them.
Jack continues his pursuit of Ana, going back and forth between hitting on her and treating her like a servant. He eventually backs her into the wall and tries to blackmail her and assault her. Ana gets away using self-defense techniques learned from her stepfather. Christian is furious and has Jack fired.
Meanwhile, Kate (Eloise Mumford) is continuing to date Christian’s adoptive brother Elliot (Luke Grimes) and things are getting more serious. His adoptive sister Mia (Rita Ora) approves of both relationships. Mia is the reason Christian began speaking as a child. He’d been mute after the trauma he suffered, but his parents adopting baby Mia brought him out of it.
Leila (Bella Heathcote), the former submissive of Christian’s, appears again a number of times, scaring Ana. She finally breaks into Ana’s apartment and holds her at gunpoint. Christian shows up and treats her as a submissive again, requiring her to do what he says. He bathes her (which infuriates Ana) and gets her treatment, finding out that her boyfriend had died in an accident four months before. He gets her into treatment. Ana, seeing the old Christian back and how easy it was for him to get back into his dominant role, worries that their “vanilla” relationship isn’t going to last. He proposes but Ana makes him wait for an answer.
José comes for a visit and Ana asks Christian if he can stay at Escala (Christian’s home). He agrees reluctantly. Then Christian goes missing while flying in his helicopter Charlie Tango on a business trip with his assistant Ros (Robinne Lee). The entire family and Taylor (Max Martini) and Gail (Fay Masterson), Christian’s loyal staffers, gather with Ana at Escala as news reports about the missing man play in the background. Christian finally appears, explaining that the engines failed and that it likely wasn’t an accident. Ana accepts Christian’s proposal.
The family throws a birthday party for Christian at the family mansion and Elena gets angry when they announce their engagement. She tells Ana that Christian will never be satisfied with their vanilla relationship. His mother overhears it and fights with Elena, making her leave the house. Kate learns about the BDSM contract, but keeps quiet when Ana explains that that’s not what their relationship is now. Christian takes Ana to the boathouse and formally proposes. Ana accepts. It is revealed that Jack is watching the party and was the reason Charlie Tango crashed. He’ll be back.
So, are you ready to see the Fifty Shades Darker story on the big screen? What scene are you most excited to see? Well, maybe don’t give us all the details.