The Weinstein Company challenges 'Blue Valentine' rating

blue-valentine-kings-speechImage Credit: Davi Russo; Laurie SparhamThe Weinstein Company has decided to accept but appeal the MPAA’s decision to brand an NC-17 rating on Blue Valentine, the studio’s upcoming drama starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The film was flagged by the MPAA for an intimate scene that depicts oral sex, and as reported last week, TWC is preparing a legal challenge that would argue for an R-rating.

Weinstein has also requested a special hearing for the MPAA’s treatment of The King’s Speech, the Oscar-buzzy film that received an R-rating, presumable for adult language. In a release, Harvey Weinstein said, “While we respect the MPAA, I think we can all agree that we are living with an outdated ratings system that gives torture porn, horror, and ultraviolent films the same ratings as films with so-called inappropriate language.”

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Michelle Williams talks ‘Blue Valentine’ and its NC-17 rating

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  • Jess

    I don’t even know why we have NC-17. Why should adults be able to tell other adults what they can see? R is for people over 17 and that should be enough.

    • Woot

      Well a movie with an R rating can still be seen by anybody, as long as someone under the age is with a guardian. It is strongly suggested against, but that doesn’t mean that can’t see it. NC-17 says no matter what, you can’t see the film unless you are of age. I agree I think it’s ridiculous that adults get to decided who see what. Parents should be the ones who decide what is okay for their children to see. But that’s not how it works.

  • Joshua

    My thoughts are, Who cares? If enough pictures come out with a NC-17 rating it will become old hat. What parent has their teenage kids begging them to take them to see this movie anyway? It looks to be very adult oriantated anyway. This day in age with porn on the internet everywhere you look its not shocking anymore.

    • K

      Most well known theatre chains WILL NOT show any movies rated NC-17.

    • craig

      It affects how many theaters it can play in, and the demographic it can reach… $$$$$

    • m1

      It features a lovely romance with stars and a story they can relate to. I would not be surprised if teens were interested. I know teens who were interested in/saw films like Brokeback Mountain, Crash, Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Precious, etc.

  • dctoronto

    @Joshua My thoughts exactly. I seriously don’t expect to see the Bieber fans lining up with me when I see both these films.
    Sounds like TWC is lookig for some extra (free) publicity.

    • Thuha

      Seriously, why involving Justin Bieber in this?! He has nothing to do with the issue. What TWC is doing here is to get justice not publicity. Many movies have been given an NC17 rating but decided to trim it so it wouldn’t harm their box office and their changes for an Academy Award (e.g. Million Dollar Baby). But in King’s Speech and Blue Valentine both scenes, that have have led them to their current rating, are a turning point for the characters and their relationships. TWC decided not to trim in the scenes, yes it would hurt their revenue and award chances but they stood by their movies and it is only right to appeal when the rating isn’t representing the movie correctly.

  • Chris

    Just take the rating and move on. If people are turned away from the rating then so be it. Those same people probably wouldn’t want to see that movie anyway if an NC 17 rating offends them.

  • DMR

    It sure sounds like “an intimate scene that depicts oral sex” is hardly pivotal and could be removed just as easily as another edit. If the goal of the movie is to make money, then remove the scene to accommodate the larger audience an “R” rating will garner. If the movie is meant as a work of art, then just accept your “NC-17″ or throw that scene in the “special DVD” you’ll charge more for anyway. If you want some movie buzz about seeing Michelle Williams in compromising situations- mission accomplished. The irony is the kids will still be Googling “Blue Valentine oral sex” while the parents are away at the theater.

    • Lou

      Actually, DMR, the scene is totally pivotal to Gosling’s character (as well as to the conflicts in the characters’ marriage). I won’t give anything away about this absolutely fantastic movie, but the scene needs to stay. My issue? There are plenty of movies that received ‘R’ ratings that include scenes depicting oral sex on a man (and on TV too – Spartacus anyone?). I think that the problem here is that they dare show a scene that depicts oral sex performed on a woman. That’s a double standard pure and simple. This movie is not an NC-17 movie. Sex doesn’t drive the story. The rating is ridiculous, and I hope that it is overturned. I also hope that many of you get a chance to see the movie because it is that good. The NC-17 rating would keep the movie out of some movie houses. This movie does not deserve that harsh sentence.

      • Gosling’s Weiner

        Aww, he goes down on her? I was hoping it would be the other way around…I want to see Gosling’s weiner!

  • Kevin

    Chris, do some research before advising them to walk away. If a film is branded with NC17, it has zero chance of anyone seeing since most theatres refuse to show any NC17 rated films.

  • Kevin

    DMR, you should do your research as well. Films such as these are works of art and the artist (the director) shouldn’t have to butcher his film to appease anyone. We don’t force painters, sculpters etc to alter their artwork, so why should we force directors to do the same?

    • Strepsi

      Why? Because of the children!!!! *makes sobbing noise* What if the film were ‘R’? Then a major chain might book it, and a child — a child watching CARS II — might be in the SAME Cineplex as a movie in another room with Michelle Williams giving a BJ! That child would be scarred for life! Because CARS II looks horrible!!!

    • Ryan

      Films like these are works of art? So I guess the director had the money in his or her own bank account to pay for their art, just like writers and sculptors and painters…oh wait…that’s not true at all. Most directors could never afford to pay for their own films, because they are broke with no useful skills other than “Their Art”. If the directors of the world start paying for their own movies they can do whatever they want with “their art”, otherwise, it’s about making the investors their money back so that they will actually continue to produce the “Artists” movies for them. So, No, it’s not just art and the directors of the world would be on the street corner begging for food if they didn’t have money people backing them.

      Now VanGogh…he’s an artist…and he killed himself after cutting his ear off and he was broke.

      • Franny

        Ryan, writers, sculptors and painters are also often funded by others. There is a long history of patronage in art. Once writers are famous enough, they get advances on their books so that they can afford to live while they’re writing them. Only when directors are famous do they have studio money backing their projects.

      • Ryan

        It costs millions of dollars to make a film. It does not cost millions of dollars to paint a painting or sculpt something. And I think most writers can consider that pen and paper are pretty affordable. I’d love to make a film. Maybe one of you people can fund it. Can I borrow a million dollars please. Oh, and once you give me the million dollars I’m going to do whatever I want with it regardless of what you say because I am an artist. Once you can answer yes to my money request, I’ll see your point. Lets make a movie called Noses, which will just feature two hours of shots of people’s noses. It’ll be great art, but you’ll never get your million dollars back and I’ll probably cease to be an “artist” once no one will fund me. Movies aren’t just art…they are too expensive to be compared to the other arts. Believe me…I’m sittin in Hollywood right now at a film job and it’s expensive in this world. Stick to painting and sculpting if you want to be an artist. If you want to make movies, don’t alienate your entire audience with an NC-17 rating which will prevent your movie from being seen and from making any money.

  • Michele

    I’ve seen the film, and it’s outrageous that it got an NC 17 rating. The “graphic” oral sex scene isn’t graphic at all, it’s a side angle. You don’t see anything. There’s no nudity even. Besides that scene, there’s only one other sex scene in the film. And it’s a horrible stigma to get an NC 17, it makes it seem like the movie is cheap and raunchy, when in fact it’s a love story. And the scene in question was when these characters were really starting to fall in love, so it’s an extremely intimate and loving scene, not some graphic display. Blue Valentine was really an exceptional film, it will stay with you for days after you’ve seen it. And this film just confirms even more why Ryan Gosling is my favorite actor, and why he’s certainly the most talented actor of his generation.

    • Aaron

      I totally agree, Michele. I’ve seen it too, and I literally had to go on the internet and find out why it was rated NC-17 because I couldn’t remember anything raunchy from the movie that would warrant that nomination. There’s hardly any nudity, the oral sex scene is relatively brief, the sex scene is uncomfortable but I’ve seen far, far worse…it’s a thematically intense movie–but it certainly doesn’t deserve an NC-17…just, please, someone get rid of the MPAA system. They’re not relevant anymore.

  • Bobby’s Robot

    It never ceases to amaze me how the over-the-top violence of the Saw movies and its ilk is acceptable, but believable depictions of human sexuality is not. The MPAA has needed an overhaul for decades.

    • Strepsi

      Acutally, the truth in your statement is more an indictment of American culture as a whole than just the MPAA. This is the country whose hard news channel forewent covering War Crimes for 6 months to focus on Janet Jackson’s nipple.

  • T-Ronius

    MPAA is completely outdated. Did anyone see the movie Remember Me? That was PG-13 and it was very sexual. I couldn’t believe that it was so graphic but received a PG-13 rating. Sex and violence are natural and have been around since the first living thing walked the earth. Censorship is a waste of time. If you don’t want your kids to see these things, then you should probably lock them in the basement. I don’t condone that by the way.

  • alex

    doesn’t the NC-17 rating also hurt changes for Gosling and Williams to get nominated for their acting? That seems like the worst part.. they’re both so talented and it sounds like they deserve to be recognized for this one.

  • craig

    Everyone stop saying just take the rating and move on. This affects what theaters it can actually go in… people who want to see this film will need to go to a theater than actually plays nc-17. this will affect the films gross drastically

    • Fanny

      Sorry Craig not to you.

  • frommtlwithlove

    im in canada, so i couldnt care less wou hou!!!!!!!!!

  • nervz

    The MPAA is legal censorship, plain and simple. All you people saying “why don’t thye just cut the scene then?” Because it’s a compromise of the artists vision. Art isn’t censored. Music (except for radio play) isn’t censored, but yet this primitive ratings system determines how a movie should be rated. It’s all bull. Leave the artist’s visions alone MPAA. Let people decide for themselves what they want/should see. That’s why we live in a free country.

  • Jared

    The Weinsteins have a point; I am constantly baffled by the seemingly arbitrary way ratings are assigned. This sex scene must be pretty graphic to merit an NC-17 considering all of the sex and violence that makes it into R rated movies (and since you can’t hear it, imagine that said with the maximum amount of disbelieving sarcasm).

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