'Blue Valentine' wins MPAA appeal for R rating

Blue-ValentineImage Credit: Davi RussoGood news for Blue Valentine! EW has confirmed that the MPAA has changed the gritty indie’s dreaded NC-17 rating to a much-friendlier R after Harvey Weinstein himself appeared at today’s appeal hearing.

“I am so appreciative that the MPAA was gracious enough to reconsider their rating of the film,” star Ryan Gosling said in a statement. “I can’t express how grateful I am to those in the media who stood up for the film and put their reputations on the line in using their voices to support something they believed in. This is a film that was created for the audience, to reflect how complex they are and to involve them in a dialogue that [director] Derek Cianfrance has been trying to engage them in for 12 years.  We’re over the moon to have the opportunity to finally be able to share it with those for whom it was intended.”

When EW spoke to Weinstein last month, he said he had already assembled lawyers to appeal the rating, including Alan Friedman, who helped TWC win an R rating for Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and David Boies, who represented Al Gore in the 2000 Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore and teamed with former Solicitor General Theodore Olson this year to challenge California Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage.

More on Blue Valentine:
The Weinstein Company challenges ‘Blue Valentine’ rating
‘Blue Valentine': Harvey Weinstein rails against NC-17 rating
Michelle Williams talks ‘Blue Valentine’ and its NC-17 rating
MPAA gives ‘Blue Valentine’ an NC-17

Comments (56 total) Add your comment
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  • Zo

    Yay! That ruling was ridiculous. I hate that you can be as violent as you want and only EVEREVEREVER get an R. But somehow sex is an “Oh, no!” we can’t allow THAT to be seen! It’s utter B.S. Can’t wait to see this movie. Still wish Williams and Gosling were going to be the new Daisy and Gatsby.

  • Chris

    Great news! Now maybe I’ll be able to see it.

  • J. Taylor

    The MPAA need’s to close shop!. America… no the world doesn’t need censorship!. We need guidence not uptight over protected mothers and religious figures deciding what can be seen and what can’t be seen!. Let the world’s people decide for themselves!. Where pretty smart people!.

    • nodnarb

      You do realize that the MPAA is supposed to be exactly what you described? They exist so that the government won’t seek to monitor/censor films.

      • The MooCow

        yes, and they do a suck ass job…

    • joblo

      I don’t think some people understand what censorship is. No one is being censored. The ratings are voluntary. Anyone – the studios, film makers, audience, parents, movie theaters etc – can ignore them if they chose. They are simply guidelines. If you find them pointless then ignore them. No one’s being censored though as the film makers are free to create any kind of film they want and release it. The government nor the MPAA is not forcing any edits. Censorship is a totally different thing.

      • Dex

        I don’t think YOU have an understanding of what censorship is. While you are correct that a filmmaker can choose to ignore the MPAA and release a film however he or she likes, you are wrong in your assertion that the MPAA is not engaging in censorship. A film that receives an NC-17 rating from the MPAA will not be shown in any major cinema’s theaters, nor will it be advertised on television or in any major print media. It could only be seen in arthouse theaters in major cities or perhaps in some college towns. With an R rating, however, it can have a nationwide release and get all the advertising it can pay for. Millions more people will have access to the film. While the MPAA may not ACTUALLY force edits, it does therfore strongly coerce them. Your understanding of censorship is extremely limited. Censorship is ANY suppression or regulation of the transmission of ideas.

      • Ian

        Correct. Commercial speech is not free speech. An artist can make a film with whatever content they want, as long as it is legal. However, they have no special protection from a rating system. They can still release the film if it does not get the rating they wanted for it.

        For anyone crying a film getting an nc-17 rating, shut up! You are contributing to the idea that the public has no idea what constitutional rights are, what it means to have freedoms that have been fought for, and what it means to have the content of a film rated.

        You are whining about the MPAA giving to strong of a rating- so what? Your whining only shows that you are not concerned about whether or not YOU have access to see the film, or whether the artist has the ability to distribute it. You are only concerned about OTHER PEOPLE not watching it because the rating indicates it might have content they feel is objectionable. Sorry guys, you can’t force the idea that sexually explicit, graphically violent or incredibly profane material should be deemed as being family friendly. Some of us have families and enforce standards on what we as families will watch and pay for. For us, the rating system is great. You can watch your movies with graphic sex, I can avoid them. What is the problem with that?

    • Mr. Holloway

      “Where pretty smart people!.”

      I know mistakes happen, but this is particularly unfortunate. (Right up there in the Typed Mistake Hall of Fame with “Your an idiot!”)

      • matt

        man, beat me to it!

      • JC

        I laughed out loud when I read that. The irony… Also, “need’s” is just as bad. Anyway, the MPAA’s ratings are indeed censorship even though it is not a governmental agency or actually edits the film. De facto censorship can be just as bad as de jure censorship, as this whole fiasco has shown. If you don’t think the MPAA engages in censorship, then go watch “This Film is Not Yet Rated,” a great documentary about the ratings system.

      • Bubba

        No, it’s “your an idoit”

    • James S.

      J. Taylor, despite an unfortunate typo, is correct: the MPAA is, indeed, comprised of uptight, overprotective mothers and religious figures, which is why a film like Blue Valentine gets a puritanical NC-17, and Piranha 3-D, with its regurgitated penis (funny, yes) skates by with an R. Joblo is also correct in that the rating system is entirely voluntary. However, to release a film unrated (if it even gets picked up at all by a major chain) all but guarantees that film’s death at the box-office (much as the NC-17 does). The MPAA is both good, because it keeps the government from stepping in with unnecessary censorship regulation, and bad because of the intense secrecy surrounding the organization’s criteria for rating films. For me, it’s all about transparency.

    • David

      They’re not deciding what can and can’t be seen…by adults. They simply rate based on content. Kinds under 17 can’t go to a NC-17, and that’s the only restriction.

      Talk to your movie theater about not showing an NC-17.

      • Matt

        “Kinds under 17″ … kinds of what, exactly? :/

  • m1

    What is it rated R for?

    Oh, and yay!

  • Michael

    this actually makes me really happy. it’s nice that the MPAA was willing to step back and recognize their mistake.

  • Jean

    Great news! I’m really eager to see this one, and thrilled that the MPAA hasn’t destroyed it’s chances come award season.

  • Quirky

    The problem isn’t the MPAA, it’s the fact that organizations like newspapers, walmart, blockbuster, etc. are too prudish to promote adult NC-17 movies. The same newspapers that post escort ads in their classified sections won’t post ads promoting NC-17 movies becuase it isn’t “family friendly”.

    • Prude

      The problem is that most people don’t want to sit through an entire movie of plasticized hollywood stars rolling around in the buff. They think we want to watch this crap, but we don’t. Which is why this is an independent film that nobody is going to see, with our without the NC-17 rating.

      • mrgeeel

        You’re a moron.

        Independent films do get seen by people. Many, in fact. Just not on the scale of Avatard or Saw 18. But then, you’re probably one of those people who would never go to see a film where you’d have to read subtitles, either. Enjoy Transformers 3.

        And separately, why even bother to read an article and then comment about an independent film struggling with the MPAA over a single scene (not as you put it, an entire film of “plasticized Hollywood stars rolling around in the buff” – one could hardly call Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling plasticized). What do you care? You’re not going to see it even if it’s amazing because ‘nobody’ sees independent films.

        Oh, and incidentally, their performances are being tipped for Oscar contention because of how powerful they are.

  • jim

    this is bull$%#@! this movie should get rated X. the sex and violence in this film is way over the top. ridiculous!

    • James S.

      And, again, this is the problem with the NC-17: people still equate it to the X, which, for the most part, it is. It was boneheaded for the MPAA to ever think the stigma surrounding the X (and its direct relation to pornography) would die.

    • Aaron

      What movie did you see????

    • RyanK

      I’m pretty sure you didn’t see this movie. What violence?

      • RyanK

        See the above references to R rated horror and torture porn movies.

    • Stosh

      It would be better if you would actually SEE a movie before commenting on it!

    • Matt

      Uh … sorry, champ, but there is no explicit violence to be found in Derek Cianfrance’s film. More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that the MPAA’s X rating is no longer used; it was replaced by the NC-17, which Blue Valentine was unfairly given when first submitted to the MPAA.

  • Conor

    I would have to disagree with Jim. I saw the film and while there the scene in question is very up front with itself, it’s certainly not worse than the sex scene on the stairs in the R-rated “A History of Violence” and that movie also had very graphic violence.

    • RyanK

      You know what’s a shame? That sex scene in A History of Violence was awesome. It was hot, angry, and it was realistic. (not the scenario surrounding it, but the way it was portrayed) It’s a shame that the more realistic a sex scene is, the more likely it is to get the NC-17.

  • Conor

    Not to mention X rating does not exist anymore.

  • keith

    YAY!!!!!!! So happy for the Blue Valentine team!!!

  • Ryan

    BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! Indie filmmakers stink!

    • m1

      And so do you.

  • Angela

    Nice. Now we don’t have to listen to people complain about it anymore; it’ll get what it gets. If it doesn’t get much, people won’t be able to blame it on the rating.

  • Delena

    I’m so happy for the stars and producers of Blue Valentine! I’m assuming all of the pressure placed on the arcane little entity known as the MPAA forced them to reverse their ridiculous decison to give this movie an NC-17. I think this ends up being a win win situation for Blue Valentine. The movie got it’s R rating, and tons of free publicity of well. I’d barely heard of the film before all this controversy, and now I can’t wait to see it.

    • Kayli

      You keep it up now, undrestnad? Really good to know.

  • Taylor

    yay!!! im so excited that i can now see it!!

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