The MPAA should probably go ahead and dedicate a special seat in their boardrooms to Harvey Weinstein, as the notoriously testy producer and Weinstein Company exec has begrudgingly filed into their offices a shocking number of times. Occasionally it’s been to overturn a harsh NC-17 rating on a film — “Blue Valentine” in 2010 or “Clerks” in 1994 — but more recently it’s been to soften an R-rating for language, as he attempted for 2012’s “Bully” or “The Kings Speech.” The Tom Hooper film was eventually released in a cut PG-13 version for awards season audiences, and now Weinstein is hoping to avoid a similar outcome for another contender as it nears release.
After landing big with audiences, the jury, and us at Venice this year (where it won Best Screenplay for Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan‘s work), director Stephen Frears’ latest film “Philomena” has been slapped with an R-rating by the MPAA for “two non-sexual uses of the f-word,” reports THR. Based on the true story of a Catholic woman (Judi Dench), who travels with a journalist (Coogan) to find the illegitimate child she gave up for adoption decades before, the drama is being prepped for a Thanksgiving release by The Weinstein Company, who now believes the rating will hurt its broad audience appeal.
Harvey Weinstein recently dodged an MPAA crisis this past summer when Lee Daniels’ “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” was forced to add its director’s name but still pulled through to a stellar opening; with “Philomena” he’s presented with yet another situation to show off his expertise in the matter. THR quotes a source close to the film as saying “It doesn’t make sense why they didn’t [grant a language exemption, as the MPAA did with ‘Bully’]. It’s a wholesome movie that deserves to be seen by everybody. It’s not even Judi Dench’s character who says the word.”
As the MPAA weighs whether it will bring the rating of “Philomena” closer to that of its ’12’ BBFC classification, you can look forward to seeing it in some for on November 22nd in New York and L.A., before it releases wider on Nov. 27th.