There’s been a lot of concern about how faithful the movie adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey will be to the book. We’ve already learned about some of the most significant omissions—most notably the infamous ”tampon scene”. And for a book whose primary selling point is lots and lots of sex, the movie sounds remarkably minimalist when it comes to the whole sex thing. In fact, it seems that the movie is so prurient, France is bored with it: the country has decided to rate it PG-12, meaning any 13-year-old with a few Euros and the desire to be bored can purchase a ticket.
Jean-François Mary, head of France’s fun-loving ratings board, said that teenagers should be fine seeing it, because the film is nothing more than a romance. “We could even call it a bleuette—a sentimental tale,” Mary said, presumably taking a long drag off a cigarette, exhaling slowly, and gesturing to indicate the state of ennui with which his country’s discontented bourgeoisie must forever grapple. The board, always happy to help kids understand the simple pleasures of sex in a variety of locations and positions, actually considered allowing all ages in: “The director handled the sex scenes very skillfully and limited them to the bare minimum. It’s more the subject itself, this S&M relationship, which pushed us to restrict the movie for audiences under 12.” This is in contrast to countries like the U.K., which has given the film an “18” certification, or Malaysia, which banned it altogether due to “sadistic” sexuality.
Not all French are equally complacent about the film or its ratings, however. Journalist Phalene de la Valette, writing in Le Point, argued that “France will therefore be the only country to allow 13-year old children to watch doggy-style sex scenes and other less conventional sexual behaviors in theaters.” All public responses to Valette’s point were drowned out by the sound of every 13-year-old boy in France high-fiving simultaneously, however.
In the United States, where the film is rated “R” for “unusual behavior,” middle-school students are having to find other ways to experience the magic of lackadaisical bondage play. Luckily, one middle school in Pennsylvania is just as cool and laid-back as France, and distributed a word search puzzle to students based on Fifty Shades Of Grey that included such terms as “spanking,” “bondage,” and “submissive.” It reportedly also contained more explicit terms, which aren’t reprinted here lest the young people of America realize that there are words to define the pornographic acts they’ve been watching on the Internet since the age of five. “It was a huge but unintentional error,” one school board member said, referring to the word puzzle and not the popularity of E. L. James’ novel.
Fifty Shades Of Grey will be released in the U.S. this week, where it is assumed that many who go to see it will attempt to ban the film for being sadistic, though not for any reasons having to do with sex.