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Judi Dench and Harvey Weinstein Get Their Way: 'Philomena' To be Rated PG-13, Not R

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire November 13, 2013 at 4:46PM

Just a day after poking fun at their battle with the MPAA over the surprising R-rating for "Philomena" via a Funny or Die spot starring the film's two leads, Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, The Weinstein Company have won their formal appeal to revise the film's rating to a PG-13.
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Still from 'Philomena'
Still from 'Philomena'

Just a day after poking fun at their battle with the MPAA over the surprising R-rating for "Philomena" via a Funny or Die spot starring the film's two leads, Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, The Weinstein Company have won their formal appeal to revise the film's rating to a PG-13.

The film was initially slapped with the R-rating due to the presence of more than one "harsher, sexually-derived word" used as an expletive. The Weinstein Company argued that based on the film's subject matter, which concerns the unlikely duo of a journalist and ex-nun in the search for her long-lost son, "Philomena" ought to be granted with the more family-friendly rating. Coogan offered his support by showing up for the MPAA hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday to speak on the film's behalf.

In a statement, Harvey Weinstein remarked how the Funny or Die short played a big role in their appeal. "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," he 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."

Director Stephen Frears' added, "This is a film that evokes an overwhelmingly positive response from people. I'm delighted children have already seen it and have responded to it so positively. 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. 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."

"Philomena" opens November 27.

This article is related to: Philomena, The Weinstein Co., The Weinstein Company, Harvey Weinstein, MPAA