The last of novelist E.L. James’ trilogy about a sadomasochistic relationship between a young billionaire and naïve student was given a ‘Tous Publics’ (all publics) rating in France, meaning it can be watched by children and adults alike.
In comparison, the film starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan was given an 18 certificate by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC).
America’s ratings board, for its part, gave the film an R rating, meaning anyone under the age of 17 must be accompanied by a parent.
“What the court needs to decide is whether showing an adult film – it can only be described as such as it is about a sadomasochistic love affair – is appropriate for children.”
Promouvoir also attempted to have the age classification for 50 Shades of Grey, the first film in the trilogy, raised from its original 12 certificate, but its request was denied.
The traditionalist lobby group has successfully had a string of high-profile films rerated thanks to a clause in French film classification rules which allows films to be banned for children or even pulled from cinemas if they might affect a child’s “emotional development”.
Lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Colour had its rating raised from a 12 to an 18 certificate because of its explicit sex scenes just weeks after its big screen release because of the pressure group.
Lars Von Trier’s 2009 horror film Antichrist was also given a new rating after Promouvoir pushed for its rating to be raised from a 16 to an 18 certificate over its violent content and graphic sex scenes.
The court ruled at the time that the under-16 rating given by the culture ministry had been a “mistake”.
Promouvoir’s legal successes, however, have prompted the culture ministry – which has overturned several of the bans – to order an overhaul of the rules.