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‘3 Generations’: Weinstein Company to Protest R Rating Received by Transgender Drama

Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon star in the film.

3 Generations elle fanning

“3 Generations”

The Weinstein Company has announced its plan to protest the R rating received by “3 Generations,” co-writer/director Gaby Dellal’s film about a transgender teenager played by Elle Fanning. Formerly known as “About Ray,” the film co-stars Naomi Watts and Susan Sarandon.

READ MORE: TIFF Review: ‘About Ray’ Starring Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts & Susan Sarandon

The MPAA cites language, including sexual references, in its decision. TWC has once again enlisted attorney David Boies to aid their legal battle, as they did when “Bully” likewise received a controversial R rating; the company successfully brought the anti-bullying documentary’s rating down to a PG-13 in that case.

“This film is a beautiful and touching story about family and identity,” said Watts, who also serves as executive producer. “It is important for teenagers to see it and the ‘R’ Rating doesn’t reflect today’s society. ‘3 Generations’ doesn’t have a bad bone in its body, it’s an expression of love, acceptance, strength, and honesty, values that could not be more necessary right now.”

READ MORE: Jay Z and Weinstein Company Team Up for Ambitious Film and Docuseries About Trayvon Martin

Sarandon chimed in as well, calling the film “an important movie for everyone to see, especially transgender youth who are feeling isolated or fearful and their families. It’s ridiculous to have an R rating which would prevent this audience from seeing the film.”

The film, which premiered under its former title at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015, was originally scheduled for release shortly after its TIFF debut. Its new release date is May 5.

“As a mother and a filmmaker, I want to speak to kids, to parents, and to grandparents everywhere in a common language of love and inclusion about a subject matter that is not only real and complicated, but one that is important and alive today,” said Dellal in a statement of her own.

“There are kids all over this country that are still too fearful to speak out and to step out; they’re too alone to fight, lacking the kinds of support that would let them feel free to be themselves. Our story wants to humanize this family experience, and to take the mystery out of the secrets. I hope the MPAA will reconsider this R rating and encourage children to see this story and feel connected.”

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Al Spohn

It’s a shame that a message this important needs to be sullied by Hollywood’s continued juvenile reliance on profanity to lend (presumably) some form of authenticity to a narrative. If they are genuinely interested in reaching all audiences, they need to have the stones to craft a film that leaves profanity out. Difficult as it might be, Hollywood needs to come to grips with the reality that not every engaging social interaction involves potty-mouth hyperbole in the real world. Break out the thesaurus! You can do it!

    James Owen

    Actually, Al Spohn, I’d counter that it’s a shame the MPAA still clings to puritanical hypocrisy in determining how they rate a movie. If the producers were aiming for a PG-13 rating all along then, guaranteed, there are no more than one of two F-bombs in the whole picture, because that’s the established (and pathetic) language threshold for this category: anyone who thinks a 10 or 12 year-old hasn’t heard much worse in the schoolyard already is living in a delusional fantasy. I’d bet dollars to donuts that the R rating they handed down here was due not to overly harsh profanity but, let’s be honest, because it’s a story that grants a transgender character the same agency and dignity that straight squares like to believe is reserved for them alone. It’s a delicious (but nonetheless frustrating) irony that the same Bible-thumping Heartlanders who’ll decry the very existence of such a film at all (and no doubt point to it as evidence of Hollywood’s “liberal propaganda”) are the selfsame people that the MPAA – Hollywood’s industrial lobbying arm, remember, not an official censorship board – bend over backwards to appease with the ratings they apply.

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