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Fifty Shades Freed Entertains [MOVIE REVIEW]

Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) return in the third and final film series based on the bestselling Fifty Shades novels.

The film opens with Christian and Ana trading marriage vows, looking to a new life of shared love and luxury.

Of course, there’s a lot of sex, but Fifty Shades Freed, more than anything else entertains and it gets a See It! rating.

The story does strain credibility in an effort to bolster the story. In the scenes after the couple gets married, Anastasia behaves more like someone who just met Christian than someone who knows and agreed to marry him: She didn’t know he had a domestic staff at his apartment, he had his own plane, and that she will have a security detail following her around. Apparently, after the long and extensive history of sexual gymnastics, they don’t know each other’s viewpoint on having children.

However, the characters are fuller and richer than in Fifty Shades of Grey where they both seem empty and vacuous. In this edition, they are more interesting and more balanced characters. While sex can be a draw to a movie, there has to be more to a film for it to succeed. Here there’s drama and amusing dialogue.

Fifty Shades Freed gets a B+ for cast diversity. Set in Seattle, a city in which people of color make up about a third of the population, the film has a diverse group of people of color in supporting and background roles.

Fifty Shades Freed is rated “R” for strong sexual content, nudity, and language and it is approximately 105 minutes in length. Fifty Shades Freed will be worth your time and money.

Movie Review: How to Be Single

Alice (Dakota Johnson) meets Josh (Nicholas Braun) in her freshman year of college. After four years of what Josh views as a relationship with a future, Alice says she needs a break to find herself. Josh is heartbroken but has no other choice than to accept her decision.

Alice moves to New York City where she shares an apartment with her sister and takes a job as a paralegal. On Alice's first day on her job she meets Robin (Rebel Wilson) who is all about the excesses of single life in New York: the clubs, the men and booze. They become friends. They hit the singles scene. Alice also meets Tom, the owner of a neighborhood bar. He makes it clear that's he's strictly a friends with benefits type of guy. They have a fling. Alice then decides she's been free long enough. She calls Josh who has also moved to New York. They meet. She tells him she's ready to return to what they had in college. But now it's her turn to be heartbroken; Josh has moved on and is no longer interested.

How to Be Single is set in New York. Shot in 47 days. You can't help but compare it to Sex in the City. The focus is mainly on a single young professional woman. But if you have been single in New York City, you will identify with this film. This is a complicated place to date and this movies captures the conflicts and the misunderstandings that come with seeking a partner in a highly diverse and complex town.

Dakota Johnson (daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) is solid in the leading role. She is a flawed but basically decent human being. This story only works if viewers identify with her and her plight. And they do.

This movie is also supported by a strong supporting cast: Leslie Mann, Nicholas Braun, and Damon Wayans Jr., among others. The only character lacking credibility is Rebel Wilson's Robin. She's out of control: promiscuous, drinking, partying. She's a parody. And not believable in any way.

How to Be Single reflects a trend in movies of gradually moving towards more sexually active characters. During the height of the AIDS epidemic, viewers recoiled at images of uninhibited carnal behavior as dangerous and foolhardy.

How to Be Single and other films and TV series tend to overly glamorize life in the Big Apple. Everyone lives in a gorgeous and usually very large apartment, wear designer outfits and have loads of time to just hang out.

As to our diversity rating, this movie gets a C+. In New York City, two out of every three people are nonwhite. But you would never know it from films like this one, and TV shows like Seinfeld, Friends, and Sex in the City.

In Alice's circle of friends and acquaintances, there is one person of color, Paul, played by Damon Wayans Jr. He and Alice meet at a college alumni event and later connect romantically.

David is a successful, very polished professional, as well as, a devoted father. His wife died a couple of years earlier and he still struggles with the loss. This type of positive image of a black man, intelligent with emotional depth, is rare and is commendable that the casting director selected him for this role.

So what's the verdict on How to Be Single? All-in-all it's worth a trip to the theater because it's the kind of film that you'll think and talk about after it's over. And it gets a See It rating.

It's a 1 hour and 50 minutes. It's rated R for sexual content and language.

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