Though not due out until Valentine's Day “Fifty Shades of Grey” is already causing controversy. In Buncrana, County Donegal, the risqué film based on the EL James erotic romance novel of the same name, will not be screened at the town cinema, St. Mary's.
There is widespread confusion as to why the movie that is already set to smash box office records will not be screened in the cinema, which is leased from Buncrana parish.
Earlier reports stated the cinema owners claimed the movie, which features Irish star Jamie Dornan, is “pornographic” and portrays "violence against women."
However, both the cinema and the local parish priest have since denied that the church had any role in the decision to not screen "Fifty Shades of Grey."
In a subsequent press statement the owners said "we don’t have the capacity to run 4 shows a day, 7 a days a week! Anything else you hear is made up!”
Parish priest Fr. Francis Bradley told the Irish Times the first he heard about it was in The Inishowen Independent.
“I don’t know the operating of the cinema at all,” he said. “It’s a free world in which people make decisions themselves. The parish would have an interest in what would happen there, but the cinema makes its own decisions.”
Father Bradley however stated he did not intend to see the film himself.
“It is not something that I would recommend. There is enough violence in the world without people indulging in more violence. If you are asking my recommendations, I’d say no.”
In earlier reports a spokesman for the cinema confirmed that the movie would not be shown. They were quoted as saying the “film would definitely not be screened."
Mary Doherty, a Christian campaigner who lives in the town, said the movie glamorizes violence again women. She said the movie "portrays and accepts sexual violence against women."
She told the Inishowen Independent she was pleased that her local cinema had made this decision to ban the movie. She said it was a “relief” that the movie would not be shown in a building associated with the church, “St Mary's Hall Community Centre & Hall Cinema.”
She added, “The whole film is purely about sexual content and there is so much sexual violence in it. It couldn’t possibly happen under the church, they couldn’t possibly put a film like this out.”
“Fifty Shades of Grey” tells the story of a young woman, played by Dakota Johnson, who is introduced to the world of BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) by a young billionaire playboy, played by model turned actor, Dornan.
Doherty continued by saying that while people might go to see the movie in their droves, thinking it’s just a bit of fun, there is a serious undercurrent to it.
She continued, “People do a lot of things out of curiosity and they will see this and will think it is acceptable and okay and that there is nothing wrong with this. There are people out there that are vulnerable and people that are going to abuse women and this is an opportunity for them to see it as acceptable to abuse women.
“There is trafficking going on in our world, but it isn’t any wonder why they are getting away with it. It shouldn’t be shown anywhere. It is bad enough that these things are on the Internet and now they are bringing it to the cinema.”
Others clearly agree that the movie goes too far.
Malaysia’s Film Censorship Board just announced that the movie will be banned in their country. The board’s chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid said, “The board made a decision in view of the film containing scenes that are not of natural sexual content.”
He continued, “The content is more sadistic, featuring scenes of a woman being tied to a bed and whipped.”
Also the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in Washington D.C. has announced that it’s protesting the film via a new website www.fiftyshadesisabuse.com and a social media campaign aimed to drive home the message that “Fifty Shades of Grey” is anti-women.
“Hollywood is advertising the 'Fifty Shades' story as an erotic love affair, but it is really about sexual abuse and violence against women,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“The porn industry has poised men and women to receive the message that sexual violence is enjoyable. Fifty Shades models this porn message and Hollywood cashes the check.”
Indeed. The pre-sale for the flick, starring Irishman Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, has already set a Fandango record for an R rated movie.
Even Dornan admitted to U.K. Glamour that some of the sex stuff was pretty freaky.
“There were times when Dakota was not wearing much, and I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman. I felt very protective and aware that it probably wasn’t easy for her to be put in those situations,” he said.