Fifty Shades Freed: Bitter blow for Jamie Dornan as critics pan last instalment
Holywood-born movie star Jamie Dornan's ears are burning after his latest role - the final instalment of the controversial Fifty Shades Of Grey saga - was panned by the critics.
Fifty Shades Freed may not yet be on general release, but already all the talk around it has been dominated by the poor reviews, with the Daily Telegraph labelling it "painful, prissy, and even ropier than the last one". One of the only positive points raised by reviewers came in the Daily Express' verdict - that Dakota Johnson "still shines".
The Fifty Shades trilogy, based on the books by EL James, made Dornan a household name playing billionaire Christian Grey.
The former Calvin Klein model was previously best known for playing serial killer Paul Spector in The Fall.
He admitted in an interview with Eamonn Mallie earlier this week that he was disappointed to miss out on winning a Bafta for that role.
However, it seems unlikely his Fifty Shades performances will secure him any gongs.
The Daily Telegraph review of Fifty Shades Freed describes Dornan as having "fought so valiantly with his dialogue" in the first two films of the trilogy, but in the finale "he just looks spent", adding that his co-star "comes out of it much better".
In a one-star review for The Guardian, Benjamin Lee said: "As usual it's left entirely up to the beleaguered Johnson to make any of it even remotely watchable.
"She remains a compelling presence, trying her darnedest with lifeless words, but, again, she's stranded by the energy-sucking vortex of nothingness that is Jamie Dornan."
Variety's Guy Lodge was equally scathing: "It's hard to shake the feeling from an early point in Fifty Shades Freed... that perhaps there weren't quite three films in it."
He added that "by round three, there's nothing left to discover in Anastasia and Christian".
Of the sex, which sparked controversy with its portrayal of a sadomasochistic relationship, Lodge said "perhaps the lone surprise of Fifty Shades Freed is just how incidental its erotica has become" with the Red Room of Pain having become "merely another indulgent facility at Casa Grey, not to mention a handy spare bedroom in the event of a soon-resolved marital squabble".
The Hollywood Reporter's Jordan Mintzer wrote that the movie "doesn't quite end with the bang one would hope for", but "should likewise draw a good crowd, although perhaps less than the other two films as viewers begin to grow tired of the same old bedroom routine". Screen International's Ben Croll wrote: "Fifty Shades Freed ultimately authors its own most stinging rebuke, closing on an extended montage highlighting major moments and turning points from the trilogy. Tellingly, none of them come from this film."
IndieWire's Manuela Lazic was more positive in an off-hand way, writing: "Finally, the Fifty Shades phenomenon has yielded a disarming comedy that makes this ridiculous material fun to watch."