Fifty Shades of Grey movie only gets a '12' rating in French cinemas

Some members of the CNC thought there should not be a restriction on the film

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The Independent Culture

Twelve-year-olds in France have been given the green light to see Fifty Shades of Grey in cinemas after the country’s classification board decided that it would not “shock a lot of people”.

The movie adaptation of EL James’ erotic novels stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson as billionaire BDSM-lover Christian Grey and virginal English Lit student Anastasia Steele and contains around 20 minutes of sex scenes.

But while Malaysia went so far as to ban the “sadistic” film completely, with the US giving it an R rating (17 and under must be accompanied by an adult) and the UK the most restrictive 18 certificate, France has been much more lenient with its bondage theme. Ooh la la indeed.


Le Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée (CNC) opted for a PG-12 rating because of the casualness with which the movie presents sadomasochism.

There were debates among the board but some members believed that anyone should be allowed to watch it, according to CNC president Jean-Francois Mary.

Fifty Shades of Grey is really a romance, we could even call it a bleuette – a sentimental tale,” he said.

“The director handled the sex scenes very skilfully 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.” France will be the only country to permit all teenagers access to Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film, a decision that many French journalists have criticised.

“Throughout the world everyone seems to agree that [Fifty Shades] is not appropriate for younger audiences,” Phalene de la Valette wrote in Le Point magazine.

“In Canada, Ireland, Australia and Czech Republic, Belgium and Sweden, ratings vary between 18 and 15 years old. Even the very liberal countries like the Netherlands didn’t go under that age limit.”

France, however, is merely continuing in its lax trend, having put only an under-12 restriction on lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Colour last year and allowed children to watch graphic comedy Porn in the Hood back in 2012.

Fifty Shades of Grey has its London premiere last night and is released in UK cinemas tomorrow.