This weekend, my coworkers and I attended a Friday-night screening of Fifty Shades Darker armed with a coffee mug full of of bad champagne and vaginas full of Ben Wa balls. Our bodies were ready for scenes of bland missionary sex between two actors unable to look directly at one another, much less simulate unmitigated passion; for the lazy line drawn directly from childhood trauma to light BDSM to "this guy wants to murder women who look like his mom, but who cares, it's hot"; for Jamie Dornan's painful struggle to approximate an American accent and suppress his own profound humiliation; for dialogue that was clearly written for Sims and translated into English; for Dakota Johnson's wig.
What our bodies were not prepared for: the onslaught of audaciously tone-deaf whiteness. This movie is white as fuck and it loves itself!!!! It is whiter than a glass of whole milk getting fingered to a Van Morrison song, which is what happens halfway through the film, when Dakota Johnson get fingered to a Van Morrison song. Despite its title, Fifty Shades Darker is, in fact, the whitest movie of all time.
Here is a comprehensive list of Fifty Shades Darker's whitest moments:
The main character's name is Anastasia Steele.
Nobody ever questions this name or even remarks upon it.
Everyone calls her "Ana," but pronounces it "Anna."
Her wig has bangs.
The other main character's name is Christian Grey.
The movie is set in Seattle.
The movie begins with Ana wandering the streets of Seattle as an acoustic cover of Coldplay's "The Scientist" plays melancholically.
Despite the fact that they are acrimoniously separated, Christian sends Ana a bouquet on the first day of her new job as a publishing assistant. The card reads, "Good luck in your new job."
Good luck IN your new job.
Ana's only friend is a blonde woman named Kate. She is dating Christian's brother. His name is Elliot.
Kate and Elliot are in Barbados for almost the entire movie for no apparent reason. They send Ana a video message in which they ask her why she isn't there (she is working!) and rave about Barbados's booze.
Ana's white male boss hits on her immediately.
His name is Jack Hyde.
Every name in this movie is the equivalent of a stick figure hastily drawn by a very horny person.
Ana has one black coworker.
Her name is Hannah.
Jack ignores Hannah entirely.
Ana has one non-white friend, a Hispanic man who is obsessed with her.
His name is Jose.
Jose hosts a photography exhibition whose centerpiece is gigantic black-and-white portraits of Ana.
This is all Jose does in the movie.
Christian buys all of these photos of Ana because he does not want other people to look at her. This is never addressed again.
Christian, whom Ana broke up with at the end of the last film because he flogged her with a belt at her behest, stalks Ana at Jose's photography exhibition and asks her to dinner. "Fine," she says. "I'll have dinner with you ... because I'm hungry."
At said dinner, Ana orders a quinoa salad.
Both order white wine.
At a steakhouse.
Christian explains his BDSM fetish thusly: "My mom died when I was 4. She was a crack addict."
He does not elaborate; crack is shorthand for unspeakable horror.
This admission is enough for Ana to take Christian back.
Christian sends Ana home with a sultry gift: a new MacBook and iPhone.
Rita Ora plays Christian's sister.
Her name is Mia.
Ana takes Christian grocery shopping for the first time in his entire life.
He is miserable.
She buys vanilla ice cream as a metaphor.
At home, they drink white wine again.
Lying in bed, Ana explains that she never fucked anyone before Christian because "I read Brontë and Austen, and nobody ever measured up."
Christian interrupts her to fuck her, and she says, "Stop distracting me with your kinky fuckery."
I am still embarrassed to the point of squinting my eyes shut re: this line.
They have sex, but it's missionary, and Christian keeps his pants on the entire time.
Christian gives Ana a check for $24,000, which is the amount he got when he sold her car in the first movie.
Her car had a name.
It was Wanda.
Ana tears up the check!
Christian tells her, "I make $24,000 every 15 minutes."
A woman who looks exactly like Ana approaches her in the street with bandages on her wrists and a wild look in her eyes. Ana is like, "Hello! Who are you?"
The woman says, "I'm nobody," and runs away.
This woman is wearing Doc Martens.
Christian buys Ana's publishing house against her will.
Christian explains that he is now Ana’s boss’s boss’s boss.
Christian transfers $24,000 into Ana's bank account against her will.
Ana asks, "How do you know my bank account information?"
Christian never responds to this.
Christian invites Ana to a ball thrown by his parents at the last minute.
Immediately after inviting her, he escorts her to a blowout bar.
The blowout bar is co-owned by Christian and the middle-aged white woman who used to fuck Christian when he was a teenager.
Ana calls her "Mrs. Robinson."
Her name is Elena.
She is played by Kim Basinger.
She has an updo.
Ana gets mad that Christian escorted her to the blowout bar owned by the woman who statutorily raped him and now co-owns a business with him.
Christian makes it up to her by hiring an Italian man to come to his home and blow-dry her hair.
Christian's home is like if a Real Housewife watched American Psycho too many times.
The Italian man says, "Ciao, bella."
Christian has at least a dozen matching lingerie sets, designer gowns, and various diamonds laid out for Ana in a gigantic walk-in closet, despite getting back together with her yesterday.
Christian reveals that he has detailed files on every woman he has ever fucked.
They are actually in file folders.
Ana's file reveals that, when she met Christian, she had $683 in her bank account, despite having a part-time job, living in a very nice apartment in Seattle, and owning a car.
Christian has a middle-aged white housekeeper.
Her name is Mrs. Jones.
Ana is upset that Christian is still emotionally withholding from him. Christian is like, "Fine: These burns on my chest are from my mom putting cigarettes out on me."
Christian hands Ana a red lipstick and instructs her to draw a box on his chest, indicating where he cannot be touched (wherever his crack mom burned him with cigarettes, to be clear).
Both engage in this activity solemnly.
Before Christian and Ana leave for the ball, Christian pulls out Ben Wa balls.
"You're not putting those in my butt," says Ana.
Christian puts them in her vagina and the two depart for the ball.
The ball is a masked ball.
Nobody remembered to tell Ana this, but Christian brought her an extra mask.
Both drink white wine.
There is a second black person: the singer at the ball.
The singer at the ball is only permitted to sing Frank Sinatra songs.
The ball has a silent auction. One of the items being auctioned off is a stay at Christian's palatial home in Aspen.
Ana says, "I didn't know you had a place in Aspen."
Christian says, "I have a lot of places."
Ana bids on Christian's Aspen house with the $24,000 he put in her bank account.
Christian says, "I don't know whether to worship at your feet or spank you."
Ana says, "Now the money will go to someone in need."
Christian and Ana get up from the table abruptly, in the middle of the silent auction, to fuck in his childhood bedroom.
His childhood bedroom has a Chronicles of Riddick poster.
His childhood bedroom has a UFC poster.
Ana notices a photo of Christian's mother underneath the UFC poster. She looks exactly like Ana.
"I don't want to talk about it," says Christian.
After Christian goes down on her for about 10 seconds, they have missionary sex again.
Christian has still never removed his pants.
A random white guy in a mask takes a picture of a picture of Christian's family. This is never explained.
Kim Basinger is also at the ball, because she is Christian's mom's best friend.
Christian's mom is played by Marcia Gay Harden.
Kim Basinger politely approaches Ana in the bathroom and tells her that Christian will never love her and that she can't save him, because he needs a "submissive in life."
The two arrive home to find that somebody has thrown white paint on Ana's car (not Wanda). This is regarded as a murderous threat.
Ana and Christian escape to his nearby yacht for safety.
The two have sex in the yacht shower mere hours after the paint-based threat on Ana's life.
The red lipstick remains on Christian's chest, undisturbed, despite the fact that he spent several hours in a tight shirt at a party, fucked in his childhood bedroom, panicked about Ana's painted car, and raced dramatically to his yacht.
In the morning, Ana is wearing a white sweater, jeans, and boat shoes, despite having rushed over to the yacht directly from a masked ball.
Ana steers the boat and they both giggle a lot, despite the fact that they are on the yacht because somebody is trying to kill them.
Ana remarks on a nearby mansion, and Christian says that it's inhabited by an "old sea widow, who waits for her husband to return every night." Ana is like, "Did you make that up?" Christian is like, "Yeah, I did."
She thinks this is fabulously clever.
Christian has a driver/butler/heavy.
He is a middle-aged white man.
His name is Taylor.
He is played by a man named Max Martini.
Ana's boss hates her now, because her boyfriend bought his company.
He insists that Ana accompany him to New York for a publishing conference, but Christian says, "No. I want to take you to New York." Ana is like, "OK."
They drink white wine during this conversation.
Christian has a place in New York.
Outside of her boss, Ana has not spoken to a single person who is not related to or who hasn't fucked Christian.
Ana does not know what nipple clamps are.
Christian and Ana have missionary sex again. He goes down on her for four seconds.
They drink white wine during dinner.
Ana's boss tries to rape her, and tries to convince her that the rape is OK because it will make her "smarter, not just richer."
Taylor beats up Ana's boss.
Christian fires him.
Nobody calls the police or follows up to make sure that Ana's boss is punished in any legal capacity.
Ana tells Christian that she wants to stay at her job because "you know I love working."
They drink white wine during this conversation.
Somebody's name is Mr. Roach. I can't remember who, but I wrote it down.
Despite having worked at the publishing house for one week, Ana is instantaneously promoted to her boss's old job after being like, "What if we publish new voices?"
Hannah is not even considered for the job.
Ana and Hannah have an awkward conversation in which Ana insists that Hannah does not have to call her "Ms. Steele" and should only get Ana coffee if she, too, is getting coffee.
This is an homage to Working Girl, another white movie, starring Dakota Johnson's mother, Melanie Griffith.
Ana and Christian go to one of those skyscraper restaurants with 360-degree views of the city and drink more white wine.
Christian fingers Ana in an elevator to a Van Morrison song.
The song is "Moondance."
Ana stops at home to get something from her extremely nice apartment that she spent all but $683 on. Her well-dressed suicidal twin, who is revealed to be Christian's ex-sub, is there with a gun.
Her name is Leila Williams.
Ana confronts her would-be murderer thusly: "Leila, Christian talks about you all the time!!!"
Leila asks, "What do you have that I don't have???"
The answer is bangs. Nobody says this, though.
Leila shoots weirdly into the air, missing Ana entirely.
Christian runs in and stops the whole thing by petting Leila on the head.
Ana leaves in a huff, not because she almost died, but because she's upset that Christian petted another woman on the head.
She sulks around in the rain for a long time.
She returns to Christian's house, and he's like, "Where were you, it's been three hours?!?!?!?!"
Ana and Christian never address her near-death experience; instead, their conversation goes as follows:
Christian: I'm not actually a dom, I'm a sadist, and I look for women that look like my mom and I get off on hurting them.
Ana: What if I'm not enough for you?
Christian: Move in with me.
Ana wakes up in the middle of the night, puts on Christian's shirt, walks out onto the balcony, and stares at Seattle for a while. When she goes back to bed, Christian asks Ana to marry him. She's like, "Probably."
Ana sleeps in Hanky Panky thongs.
Christian has a home gym that includes a pommel horse.
Christian works out on the pommel horse to the dulcet vocals of Sting.
Christian and Anna fuck atop the pommel horse.
Rita Ora calls Ana to tell her that it is almost Christian's birthday, and that she wants to buy him a tie. Ana is like, "We just had a party." Rita Ora says, "Yes, but this is different; it's just family and friends and fireworks."
Ana did not know Christian's birthday, and when she brings it up to him, he gets annoyed and says he hates his birthday.
Ana stops at a newsstand to buy a keychain. She asks the newsstand guy if he "has a gift box."
Christian spontaneously has to go to Portland for "business."
The third black person in this movie, his coworker, accompanies him.
They take a helicopter there.
The helicopter crashes, engulfed in flames.
His entire family gathers at his apartment to watch the news about the helicopter crash.
Marcia Gay Harden gets Ana a sweater and tea to calm her down.
The news anchor suddenly shouts that Christian has been found. Before she can finish her sentence, he walks in the door.
He looks totally normal.
Marcia Gay Harden collapses on him, relieved. He is irritated by this display of affection. "I gotta talk to my girl," he says.
Christian ushers his concerned family out the door one minute after arriving home.
Ana accepts Christian's proposal by giving him the keychain, which reads "Yes."
Christian and Ana have sex in the shower with their clothes on.
Ana requests a visit to what she calls "the red room of pain," where Christian keeps all of his BDSM sex toys. In the BDSM room, Christian puts oil on Ana's boobs, fucks her briefly from the side, then gets into the missionary position again.
Christian and Ana announce their engagement at Christian's birthday party.
Christian's coworker from the helicopter crash is there, and they give a brief head nod to each other.
Kate tells Ana, "You bagged one of Seattle's most eligible bachelors!"
Everyone is drinking white wine.
Kate hugs Ana, then departs after Elliot requests that she make "one of her killer cocktails," despite the fact that there are waitstaff and bartenders at the party.
Ana throws a cocktail in Kim Basinger's face.
Christian hands Kim Basinger a handkerchief to clean her face with.
Kim Basinger dabs lightly around her mouth, despite that fact that the drink is on her whole face.
"You taught me how to fuck," Christian says to Kim Basinger. "She taught me how to love."
Marcia Gay Harden, who apparently did not realize that her own best friend had taught Christian to fuck, shows up and slaps Kim Basinger across the face.
Kim Basinger dramatically throws the handkerchief on the floor, then leaves.
Christian confirms to Ana that he has fired Kim Basinger from her own blow dry bar and will never speak to her again.
Everything is immediately fine. Christian takes Ana to his parents' pool house, which he has decorated in flowers, and gives her a diamond engagement ring. The pool house is glass, so they can still see the fireworks.
The camera pans to a man standing near the party ominously. It's Jack Hyde, from before. He's got dirt on his face and is smoking a cigarette. He is holding a photo of Christian's entire family.
Jack Hyde extinguishes his cigarette on Christian's face.
That's the end of the movie.
Everyone who wrote, directed, and produced this movie is white.