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This Valentine’s Day, the movie slated to dominate box offices is the film adaptation of bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey. The erotic novel follows the relationship between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, who is particularly interested in some extra kinky stuff (BDSM) and the movie promises to deliver at least a fraction of the novel’s steamy sex scenes.
The film has garnered quite the amount of attention for its sexual nature, but it is by no means the first to strike a chord with audiences. Before Fifty Shades of Grey were a number of sexually explicit films that gained a lot of attention, and in some cases a lot of controversy, much more notable than anything Christian Grey can do. Take a look below at six other movies that have caused audiences to blush in the past.
[Needless to say, there are some sexually explicit content below]
Long before Fifty Shades of Grey, there was another Mr. Grey who indulged in a BDSM fetish: Secretary‘s Edward Grey. The 2002 movie Secretary starred James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal in a story not unlike the one between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Gyllenhaal is hired to be Spader’s secretary, a role that rides a fine line between professional and personal and requires the usual tasks like typing, answering phones and running errands, but Gyllenhaal receives, shall we say, “special” punishments if she messes up. The film was actually re-released recently and even joked that they boasted the “Original Mr. Grey” on their promotional poster.
Lars von Trier’s two-part film, about a woman (Charlotte Gainsbourg) who is addicted to sex, was met with lots of mixed reviews, some praising it for its “brave, thought-provoking filmmaking from a genuine auteur,” but others bashed it, calling it “pretentious hooey and hackwork.” The film also drew a lot of attention, both positive and negative, for its extremely explicit sex scenes featuing actors Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stacy Martin and Shia LaBeouf.
Eyes Wide Shut
This Stanley Kubrick classic, starring real-life couple (at the time) Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, is still a much talked about movie for many reasons. For one, the erotic thriller featured some of the sexiest scenes of all time, between the film’s main stars and otherwise (the film also featured a orgy sex party). On the other hand, and this goes for many of Kubrick’s works, there are all the insane conspiracy theories that surround it including one that claims Eyes Wide Shut is secretly about Scientology, the religion that Tom Cruise partakes in.
When director John Cameron Mitchell announced that he was casting Sook-Yin Lee (formerly of Much/now with the CBC) to be in his 2006 film Shortbus, CBC threatened to fire her over the film’s explicit nature (the film featured actors having real sex instead of simulated). But thanks to a huge out pour of support from CBC listeners as well as celebrities, CBC never followed through on the threat and Lee went on to win the 2007 International Cinephile Society Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Blue Is The Warmest Colour
Yes, this Palme d’Or winning French film featured a six-minute sex scene between the film’s two leading actresses, but that wasn’t even the controversial part. The controversy came after the film won its prestigious prize when a war of words broke out between stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos and director Abdellatif Kechiche who apparently subjected the two to “horrible” shooting conditions, especially when it came to the sex scene. For a thorough timeline of this messy controversy, read this.
There are a number of controversial sex scenes in last year’s Gone Girl, from Hollywood’s double standard when it comes to showing oral sex scenes to that bloodbath of a scene between stars Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris. Oh, and how could we forget Ben Affleck’s penis? That’s if you saw it. We’re still looking…