First reaction to Fifty Shades of Grey footage: “They didn’t even mention the word ‘sex'”

According to critics, the first scenes from the adaptation of E.L. James's racy novel starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson were distinctly PG...


As we eagerly awaits the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, a group of lucky critics in America were privy to a brief five minutes of footage yesterday – the first seen by anyone outside of the studio, according to Universal Pictures chairman, Donna Langley.


The sneak preview at the Las Vegas CinemaCon industry event featured different scenes of Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan) together in Grey’s office and in coffee shops. But far from being as racy as E.L. James’s book (dubbed “mommy porn”), the early footage is reported to be distinctly PG. 

Entertainment Weekly‘s reporter, Nicole Sperling, writes, “Rather than fill the five-minute teaser with the sex that made the books by British author E.L. James so popular, the studio went against expectations and highlighted the romance between the two leads.”

She continued, “with the exception of a brief blindfold, a hand on a thigh and a glimpse of a riding crop, Mr. Grey’s penchant for domineering sex was kept to a minimum.”

Now, it’s worth keeping in mind that CinemaCon’s audience are traditionally conservative. “It’s of course possible some of that footage was of the toned-down sort, thanks to the CinemaCon crowd, which can be a more buttoned-up group,” reasoned Amy Kaufman of LA Times. Nevertheless, the omission of any overtly sexual content certainly took the film’s first audience by surprise.

CinemaBlend‘s Eric Eisenberg observed, “While the movie promises to be filled with all kinds of taboo carnal relations, what was shown in the clips was very PG-rated (they didn’t even mention the word ‘sex’). Of course, there was plenty of innuendo and suggestion of Christian Grey’s habits behind locked doors, but none of it was explicitly shown. The closest it came to showing anything even remotely R-rated was Ana tied to a bed with a blindfold on, but even that shot lasted only about half a second.”

As any Fifty Shades fans will know, Dornan was not the first actor cast as Grey with Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam originally attached the project before dropping out, citing his “immersive TV schedule”. But, according to Gregory Ellwood at Hitfix, Dornan is “handsome and has that debonair thing down” while Johnson plays “Anastasia’s wide eyed perspective appropriately and certainly looks good with a reddish brown dyed hair,” although he does add, “whether the two of them have genuine chemistry remains to be seen.”

Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, Fifty Shades of Grey is set for release in UK cinemas on 13 February 2015.