Enough is enough! We can watch vampires dry hump but we can’t watch a real relationship unfold? We heard a while ago that The Weinstein Company planned to fight for two of their films, but threats weren’t enough, they now have had to hire lawyers to challenge the MPAA’s NC-17 rating of Blue Valentine and the R rating of The King’s Speech.
Blue Valentine is being prosecuted because of it’s realistic sexual nature and The King’s Speech is being attacked because of a few “bad words”… I have seen both films and not only are they two of the best films of the year but the sex and the language is completely necessary to both stories and are in no way deserving of their ratings, especially Blue Valentine‘s dreaded NC-17 stamp.
Harvey Weinstein has said in support of the decision from the company to fight the MPAA:
“While we respect the MPAA, I think we can all agree that we are living with an outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror and ultraviolent films the same rating as films with so-called inappropriate language,” Harvey Weinstein says in a statement.
We began with looking at the lesser of two evils, The King’s Speech which was “rated R due to strong language– usually used in instances as star Colin Firth tries to overcome his stutter.” The thing that one has to realize about swearing is that it matters when and how a character does it…
“I hope that language can be judged by its context just as violence is currently judged in context. The f-word in The King’s Speech is not being used in its sexual sense, or in its aggressive sense, but as a release mechanism to help a man overcome a stammer in the context of speech therapy, in a scene that is also very funny,” says director Tom Hooper.
In England, the ratings board seems to understand that his swearing was actually a historically accurate portrayl of the happenings that take place in the film and would be understood by audiences. Hooper, the director of the film went on to add…
“This was a technique that David Seidler, the writer, encountered as a boy in the 1940s – discovering he didn’t stammer on curse words was hugely helpful to him overcoming his speech problems. Fortunately in the UK we have been granted a 12A, and the on screen certificate will explain that there is some bad language ‘used in the context of speech therapy. I hope that in the light of this context the R rating for the movie can be reconsidered.’”
As for Blue Valentine (read review), the sex scenes in this film are very realistic but by no means overly graphic and do not promote any kind of unsafe sex — in fact it might be a good warning tale for many teenagers to see! Both of the stars of the film have come out against the ratings:
Ryan Gosling comments, “You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It’s misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman’s sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film.”
Here here. Now lets see what Michelle Williams has to add:
“The MPAA’s decision on Blue Valentine unmasks a taboo in our culture, that an honest portrayal of a relationship is more threatening than a sensationalized one,” says Williams. “Mainstream films often depict sex and violence in a manner that is disturbing and very far from reality. Yet, the MPAA regularly awards these films with a more audience friendly rating, enabling our culture’s desensitization to violence, rape, torture and brutality. Our film does not depict any of these attributes. It’s simply a candid look at the difficulties couples face in sustaining their relationships over time. Blue Valentine opens a door for couples to have a dialogue about the everyday realities of many relationships. This film was made in the spirit of love, honesty and intimacy. I hope that the MPAA will hear our pleas and reconsider their decision.”
The fact is, an NC-17 stamp automatically will not only hurt the release of this great film but wrongly tell people that this film is something that it’s not. When I saw this film back at Sundance, never for a moment did I even think that the sex was too much or worthy of such a rating. Within the context of the story and with the way that the scenes are shot with such care, the sex in this film is far less explicit than in many other graphic films and TV shows, which as Williams stated is far less realistic and far more potentially detrimental to young audiences.
For the moment, the film has had to accept the NC-17 rating because without accepting it, they can’t appeal it. Though The Weinstein Co. considered going outside of the ratings board and releasing the film as “unrated” they have decided that they have enough reason to fight for the film and as Gosling said, fight an issue that is bigger than just this one film.
“Stamping this film with the rarely used NC-17 is a travesty,” says attorney Friedman. “That rating is out of sync with R ratings awarded to films for sexual conduct, where the scenes in question are far less sensitively handled. The scene, consistent with the entire film, like all of BLUE VALENTINE, was shot with great care and tact. In fact, the NC-17 suggests a coarseness of content that is nowhere to be seen. I look forward to providing the appeal board with the chance to correct this mistake by lowering the rating to an R.”
This seems outrageous to me, but what about you?
What do you think about the two films being stamped with harsh ratings? Will you go and see them no matter what?