If there is anyone who has come into conflict with the Motion Picture Association of America’s film ratings board than mogul Harvey Weinstein than I am at a lost as to who that would be. And he is about to add another
Weinstein is getting ready to distribute Philomena, which the MPAA has slapped with an R rating for language, a rating that he told Gayle King on CBS This Morning (via Deadline) he found unacceptable.
There are two F words in the movie — you’re allowed one F. This is like The King’s Speech. The movie is the gentlest, most wonderful true story, filled with humor and joy. They should just put PG-13 Strong Language on this and make an exception. So it’s under appeal, but you know…
[In England] it was rated General Audience, for everybody, meaning kids could go see the movie with no parental supervision whatsoever.
The history of contention between Weinstein and the MPAA over ratings goes back several years. In just the past few years, the two have come to blows over the ratings of the aforementioned King’s Speech, the 2010 documentary The Tillman Story and the 2012 documentary Bully. As with Philomena, the issue boiled down to the amount of times the word “fuck” was used in the film. He also appealed the board’s 2010 decision to slap an NC-17 rating on Blue Valentine for a depiction of an oral sex act while a similar scene received an R rating in Black Swan. It turns out that 2010 was a banner year for MPAA ratings stupidity.
This looks to be the second negative story to hit the ratings board this fall. Last month, the IFC Center in New York City stated that it would not enforce the MPAA’s rating of NC-17 for the gay-themed romantic drama Blue Is The Warmest Color for its “high school-aged patrons,” while Cinemark announced that it would screen the film in one location as a test that could lead them to permanently waive their ban on NC-17 films.
Granted, I have criticized Weinstein for his poor track record when it comes to his acquisition and handling of Asian films for the US market. But on this I am in total agreement and have been whenever he has had to go against the ratings board and the faulty system that they use to rate films. I don’t see the MPAA making reforms any time soon, but if more filmmakers and studio execs were to get into the ring with them for a few rounds the way Weinstein does than perhaps we might see some changes.