Williams On BLUE VALENTINE’s Initial NC-17 Rating

Prior to it’s release, Derek Cianfrance’s drama Blue Valentine stirred up controversy when the Motion Picture Association of America slapped the film with an NC-17 rating, citing a sex scene between stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, which while explicit, oddly enough didn’t show any actual nudity. What got heads scratching was the fact that there was a very similar scene in director Darren Aronofski’s Black Swan between Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis didn’t earn that film a similar NC-17. The film instead received an R rating. Blue Valentine‘s rating was appealaed last month and knocked down to an R, but the question remained as to why the MPAA reacted the way they initially did.

In an interview published at The Daily Beast today, Williams gave her own thoughts on what difference theratings board found between the two films and the scenes in question –

I think maybe it was because her scene was more about a fantasy and mine was more about reality… Maybe it all comes down to my finding the pleasure in it.

So, the reality of sex between two consenting adults is bad and fantasy sex between two consenting adults is less bad? I think the only thing filmmakers can really learn from this is that it doesn’t pay to try and second guess what the MPAA may be thinking when they sit down to rate your film, just be prepared to appeal whatever rating they arbitrarily come up with.

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About Rich Drees 7174 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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