The MPAA has made some boneheaded, confounding and confusing decisions in the past but his one is a serious head-scratcher. The ratings board has inexplicably come down very hard on the forthcoming Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams-starring relationship drama “Blue Valentine” giving the film a dreaded NC-17 rating.
So what raised the ire of the ratings board? According to Deadline, the sequence in question involves the couple (Gosling and Williams), who in the midst of the worst emotional crisis of their relationship, head to a theme hotel to spend the night to try and sort things out. They both get drunk and he wants to have sex, but she doesn’t. However, in order to keep the peace, she agrees to anyway. It’s a tough moment, but certainly not violent; if anything it’s wrenching and unsettling, but like the rest of the film, it’s bracingly honest and mature about the complexities of a relationship on the rocks and that extends to sex too. The scene itself is hardly explicit and the film has no nudity really, except for a flashback scene where Williams is shown having sex with an ex-boyfriend at college; you see partial bum (gasp!), but that scene is also emotionally difficult for entirely different reasons that we won’t spoil here.
It’s unknown what action The Weinstein Company will take or if they will appeal the decision at all. Earlier in the year they already butted heads with the MPAA who tagged their documentary “The Tillman Story” with an R-rating (which stood after they appealed), and their other major awards season horse, “The King’s Speech” is also stuck with an R-rating thanks to a single scene where the word “fuck” is uttered excessively (more than three “fucks” and you automatically get an R-rating).
But as is pointed out countless times, the MPAA is a strangely conservative group. Foul language and sex are given a hard time, while the group doesn’t bat an eye at violence. We’d be surprised if The Weinstein Company let this go without a fight, so expect them to respond quickly. If the rating stands, it makes things very difficult for The Weinstein Company. They could release the film unrated but that would pretty much kill its box office, or they could ask director Derek Cianfrance to make some edits to the offending scene but there’s no word yet on if he would be willing to do so. Either way it’s an asinine move from the MPAA in a long line of absurd, asinine moves. Torture porn films get R-Ratings and a relationship drama with little sex gets a NC-17? The misguided decision boggles the mind.