Noor Ashikin Abdul Rahman
The New Paper
Feb 13, 2015
Fifty Shades Of Grey introduced her to the world of erotic fiction.
Miss Tess Halim, who calls herself a "professional reader", reads more than 100 such books a year, reviewing and promoting them within an international online book circle that includes both authors and readers. It all began when she picked up a copy of the EL James novel in 2012 and became a big fan.
Miss Tess, who actively connects with other fans internationally via Facebook, was among the first in Singapore to watch the highly-anticipated R21 movie adaptation starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.
The unconventional BDSM love story between charming billionaire Christian Grey (Dornan) and undergrad Anastasia Steele (Johnson) opened here yesterday.
Miss Tess joined over 50 moviegoers - most of whom were women - at the 10.10am screening at Shaw Theatres Lido.
She was so excited to watch the movie she couldn't sleep for longer than two hours the night before.
She rated the movie "20 out of 10" and already made plans to watch it again. The 29-year-old Indonesian told The New Paper:
"I felt that the sex scenes were very tastefully done, they didn't look sleazy.
"The movie was sensual and sexy, everything I was hoping for - and more. "It really exceeded my expectations and delivered on all counts.
Dornan's so good looking, there was no fault that I could find with him. For Johnson, I felt she held her own and was the star of the show."
Coincidentally, Miss Tess' middle name is Anastasia. And it gave her the tingles each time Grey said the name in the movie.
Why the obsession with Fifty Shades?
Miss Tess, who owns both the physical and electronic versions of the trilogy, said:
"I think the BDSM aspect was something that piqued a lot of women's interest. It's a new era where women are exploring their sensuality and sexuality and feel more empowered."
She added that Fifty Shades has spiced things up in the bedroom for her and her partner. "Let's just say things got kinkier," said Miss Tess, who bought a T-shirt bearing the words "Laters, baby" (a Grey catchphrase) and now eyes a silk grey tie Grey uses to bind Steele's hands.
Other early birds at yesterday's screening included duty manager Shaky Bee Ayuman, 26, who had to rush to work after the two-hour movie.
But the morning frenzy was worth it, she said. "I might watch the movie over and over again if I have the time.
"The books made me feel more emotions, but I'm not disappointed with the movie. "I'm planning to buy new copies of the books with the stars' faces on the covers."
Housewife Suly Wahab, 51, was there with her two good friends who are in their 40s. "I was intrigued by the plot," said Madam Suly, a mother of four.
"My husband called to ask about the movie and I said I liked it. He doesn't know anything about the book, but when I told him it was really good, he said he wants to watch it too."
Fans from across the Causeway refuse to get left out either. The movie is banned there.
Malaysian student Amalina Nor Azhar, 22, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, plans to drive to Singapore on Tuesday to catch the movie.
She told TNP on Twitter: "I'm mesmerised by the relationship between the characters and want to see if it is as interesting as the book.
"I've watched the trailer several times and am very excited to see the explicit scenes. I think they'll make me blush."
But at least one female moviegoer was left perturbed by the raunchy scenes.
Loud "tsks" could be heard throughout the movie and sounded out even louder during the spanking scenes.
And there were a couple of men, who attended the screening alone, who were noticeably fidgety when the heat was turned up on screen.
Another man was at the screening simply because his wife had dragged him there.
Perhaps Fifty Shades is not for everyone - at least not in a public screening.
5 SHADES OF GREY SWEET TREATS
You can now have a piece of Christian Grey.
For dessert. Sort of. UK cake company Rosie Cake-Diva's Rose Dummer is the mastermind behind two life-sized - and honestly, freaky-looking - cakes made to look like the sexy male character from the book.
Grey, not the movie's lead actor Jamie Dornan.
Made of white chocolate ganache and sugar paste, the cakes are on display for the Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show in Manchester.
The fever has also hit Manila Marriott Hotel, where a dessert called The Dom, a dome of hazelnut cake, truffle gianduja and chocolate sorbet, is available at its Cru Steakhouse.
Gourmet coffee shop Java+ also has cupcakes with toppings such as handcuffs, bras and ties.
POWER OF DESIRE
Fifty Shades Of Grey has even influenced local singer Reuby, who released an official lyric video for his new song Fifty Shades yesterday.
According to him, it reflects his personal take "on the different layers that a person can possess" and is inspired by "the power of desire" illustrated in the books.
The 19-year-old, who admitted he is not a follower of the book series and will not be watching the movie because he is underage, told The New Paper:
"I wanted to do something different, something dark, more mature, edgy. And since the movie was going to be a big thing, maybe a new song could be my big new thing."
An unofficial BDSM ad promoting Domino's Pizza's "super spicy" Sriracha pizza, created and pitched by an advertising agency but was never approved by the company, has been leaked and is making its rounds online.
It shows a realistic image of a human tongue cuffed, gagged and wearing leather lingerie with a whip and a police hat placed near it.
It came with the caption "You're going to suffer and enjoy every moment". A Domino's spokesman told Daily Mail Online:
"It was ill-advised, unfunny and not brand-appropriate. In a word, it was stupid." NO
Sorry, kinky-minded moviegoers in the US: You will not allowed to take your "weapons" to cinemas when you watch the movie.
Yes, those leather cuffs, whips and ropes are to stay at home. "While we welcome guests who want to show their excitement for a film by dressing up in costume, we do not permit weapons (real or fake), or props/costumes that would make other guests uncomfortable, or detract from the moviegoing experience," a spokesman for the US cinema chain AMC Theatres said to the website Mashable.
GIVE ENOUGH ROPE
More than 20,000 workers at UK hardware chain B&Q have received a memo to prepare for a surge in demand for rope, cable ties and tape after the film opens there tomorrow.
They were also told to familiarise themselves with the contents of the book, copies of which have reportedly been given to each store to be lent out.
Part of the memo reads:
"When the book was released in 2012, DIY and hardware stores in the UK and US reported increased demand of certain products and queries from customers as they tried to recreate their own Fifty Shades experiences.
We need to be prepared for the same effect when the film is released this month."
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