Sacrebleu! France says 12-year-olds can see “Fifty Shades of Gray”

Courtesy Universal Pictures and Focus FeaturesDakota Johnson

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is opening at several Bay Area theaters Thursday night, and it’s already been given about 50 shades of ratings.

The Motion Picture Association of America gave the film adaptation of the kinky BDSM novel an R rating for graphic nudity and unusual behavior. But kids are apparently far more sophisticated in France, where the ratings board deemed it suitable for filmgoers aged 12 and up.

Ratings board chief Jean-Francois Mary told The Associated Press that “Fifty Shades” “isn’t a film that … can shock a lot of people.”

The film, starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, is “a romance, you could even say schmaltzy,” the jaded Frenchman said, presumably pausing for a long drag from a Gitanes cigarette and a swig of Pouilly-Fuissé.

Meanwhile, the comparatively prudish British film board ruled that nobody under 18 would be admitted to see the flick, pointing out its “erotic role play based on domination, submission and sado-masochistic practices.”

Fans of “Fifty Shades,” which started out as E.L. James’ “Twilight” fan fiction before selling more than 100 million copies worldwide, can at least be glad they don’t live in Malaysia. The majority-Muslim nation has outright banned the film, dubbing it more like pornography than a Hollywood movie, according to Variety magazine.

Meanwhile, some kids won’t even need to sneak into a theater to experience “Fifty Shades.” Middle school students in Pennsylvania were recently handed puzzles based on the erotic novel — with terms like “spanking,” “submissive” and “bondage” — in what one school board member dubbed “a huge but unintentional error.”


San Francisco writer Jandy Nelson has won the Michael L. Printz Award for her novel “I’ll Give You the Sun,” according to the Bernalwood blog. … Tonight, the Toronado Pub in the Lower Haight is serving Russian River Brewing Co.’s coveted elixir Pliny the Younger, a triple-hopped IPA beer. … An attorney for Suge Knight, who is accused of running over and killing a man in Compton last month, says video of the incident shows the former rap mogul being ambushed by a gunman.


A’s catcher Josh Phegley is 27. … Actress Christina Ricci (“Buffalo 66”) is 35. … Actor Josh Brolin (“Oldboy”) is 47. … Actress and San Francisco native Joanna Kerns (“Growing Pains”) is 62. … Singer Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers is 63. … Actor Michael Ironside (“Scanners”) is 65. … Actress Maud Adams (“Octopussy”) is 70. … Director Franco Zeffirelli (“Romeo and Juliet”) is 92.

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