Weinstein Company wins appeal to change 'Philomena' rating to PG-13

Philomena

Image Credit: Alex Bailey

The MPAA has had a change of heart, and we have James Bond to thank.

The Motion Picture Association of American originally gave the new Stephen Frears-directed film Philomena, starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, an R rating because more than one “harsher, sexually-derived word” was used as an expletive in the film. The Weinstein Company, which produced the film, argued the rating should be changed to PG-13 based on the subject matter and context.

“We felt the MPAA had made the wrong decision in handing the film, which has no violence or lewd material and the bare minimum of adult language, an ‘R’ rating,” said Frears. “I am overjoyed they’ve changed their ruling in order to give families like mine an opportunity to see this film together. Now we can let the whole world see it.”

Dench and Coogan made videos parodying Dench’s iconic James Bond character M, to get the rating changed. Coogan, who also co-wrote the film, was on hand at the MPAA hearing in Los Angeles today to speak on the film’s behalf.

“We owe this victory to Barbara Broccoli, producer of the James Bond series, Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes who because of their relationship with Judi Dench gave permission to spoof the ratings system using the M character,” TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein said. “We know that went a long way into shedding light on the themes of the movie and the fact that the PG-13 rating was correct. We are glad the MPAA has a good sense of humor and with the cooperation of Barbara and her team it was proven once again no one does it better than James Bond. And my sincerest congratulations to Steve Coogan, who went to the MPAA and defended the case personally.”

Philomena tells the real-life story of Philomena Lee (Dench), who searches for the child she had out of wedlock, and the British reporter Martin Sixsmith (Coogan) who helps her in her journey. The movie is based on Sixsmith’s book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.

Check out an exclusive clip here before the film opens in theaters on Nov. 27.

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