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10 Shady romance films about the darker side of love

BY Anna Walker

1st Jan 2015 Film & TV

The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has become a global phenomenon.

Not only have the books sold over 100 million copies worldwide, outselling even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Da Vinci Code, but they’ve caused sales of rope to skyrocket and seen fire departments deal with more handcuff-based-‘emergencies’ than ever before.

E. L. James is now officially one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and 50 Shades merchandise has expanded to include 15 Shades of Bacon Burgers, baby grows, wine, cookbooks, suits, teddy bears and even a brand of detergent!

With the first installment now out on DVD, we’ve collected together 10 more films that explore the darker side of love. From secretaries to vampires, adulterous wives to assassins, there’s something here to satisfy even the fantasies of even the most carnal appetites…


10. The Twilight Saga

50 Shades of Grey began life as a work of Twilight fan fiction entitled Master of the Universe, written under E. L. James’ preferred pen name, ‘Snowqueen’s Icedragon’. The parallels between the two trilogies are clear, not least for the overwhelming public reception to Stephanie Meyer’s vampire/human forbidden love story, which captured the hearts of teenage girls across the globe and sold over 120 million copies.

Meyer has since commented on 50 Shades… calling the series “really not my genre, not my thing” but followed with; “Good for her - she’s doing well, that’s great!” Sisterhood!
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9. Bitter Moon

Roman Polanski has never been one to shy away from the shock factor, and this romantic British thriller is no exception.

Prim and proper British couple Nigel (Hugh Grant) and Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas) meet the irresistibly seductive Mimi and her older paraplegic husband Oscar whilst on board a cruise ship for India. As Nigel awkwardly begins to woo Mimi, Oscar regales him with the tale of the couple’s twisted sadomasochistic relationship. Unbeknownst to the men however, Fiona has designs on Mimi of her own…

A whirlwind of sex, unbound curiosity and surrealism, Bitter Moon is 50 Shades’ evil twin…
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8. Unfaithful 

A New York couple’s vanilla marriage goes dangerously awry when the wife (Diana Lane) indulges in an obsessive affair with a French stranger she meets in Manhattan. After hiring a private detective to discover her secret, how far will her husband (Richard Gere) go to win her back…

This erotic thriller is fascinating because it places two overwhelmingly commonplace adults in an overwhelmingly uncommon situation…
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7. A Dangerous Method

Keira Knightley, Michael Fassbender, Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassel are the fabulous cast of this fascinating exploration of the turbulent relationship between Carl Jung and Sabina Spielrein, who was initially Jung and Sigmund Freud’s ‘hysterical patient’ and later one of the world’s first female psychoanalysts.

As their therapeutic relationship develops, Jung and Spielrein embark on an illicit affair, which involves bondage and spanking, blurring the line between pain and healing…
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6. Mr and Mrs Smith

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt fell in love filming this romantic comedy action about a bored middle class couple who are amazed to discover that they lead matching dual lives as assassins, hired by competing agencies to kill each other. 

When the film opens, the couple reveal to their therapist that they can’t even recall the last time they had sex – midway through however, during an anger fuelled shoot out in their idyllic marital home, they engage in an infamously steamy scene.
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5. Chloe

Gynecologist Catherine (Julianne Moore) suspects her college professor husband David (Liam Neeson) of having an affair with one of his students. She hires call girl Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) as a honey trap to test his loyalty but soon finds herself aroused by Chloe’s descriptions of their affair and is shocked when Chloe kisses her during one of their sessions.

Things only get more complicated when the two women embark on their own sexual encounters…
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4. Quills

Inspired by the real life of the Marquis de Sade, period drama Quills reimagines the last few years of his incarceration in the insane asylum at Charenton.

In the lead role Geoffrey Rush was nominated for an Oscar whilst starring alongside Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine.
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3. Magic Mike

If you fancy watching the likes of Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer strip to their undies to the tune of It’s Raining Men, then Magic Mike is the film for you!

Loosely based on the real experiences of Channing Tatum, the film follows 19-year-old Adam who enters the glittering world of male stripping, guided by veteran stripper and new best friend Mike Lane.
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2. Basic Instinct

There’s so much more to Basic Instinct than just that infamous leg-uncrossing scene. When a retired rock star is stabbed to death with an icepick during sex with a mysterious blonde woman, police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is assigned to the case.

As the mystery unfolds he can’t help but be drawn to the prime suspect, an enigmatic writer named Catherine (Sharon Stone) with whom he soon embarks on an intense, torrid affair.
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The original Mr Grey will see you now.

Lee Holloway (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is trying to readjust to society following a stint in hospital for extreme self-harm. She begins to work as a secretary for eccentric attorney Edward Grey (James Spader) and although he is initially irritated by her constant mistakes, he soon realizes that he is aroused by her submissive behavior.

After confronting her over her self-harm and demanding she never hurts herself again, the two embark on a charged BDSM relationship that will eventually heal them both.
Buy the DVD


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