The MPAA has created a stir this morning by giving the drama Blue Valentine an NC-17 rating. The “NC-17” is a kiss-of-death for a film and most theaters won’t exhibit a film that has NC-17 (and as demonstrated this week by Hatchet 2, you can’t get away with no rating either). Blue Valentine stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams and is about the deterioration of a marriage. So as to avoid spoilers, hit the jump to find out what was so offensive to the MPAA as to merit the dreaded NC-17.
According to Deadline:
The rating was given for a scene in which the characters played by Gosling and Williams try to save their crumbling marriage by spending a night away in a hotel. They get drunk and their problems intensify when he wants to have sex and she doesn’t, but will to get him off her back. That hurts his pride and the result is an upsetting scene that makes you squirm, but is an honest one that establishes clearly that this couple has nothing left and isn’t going to make it because love has turned into contempt. There is barely any nudity in the scene, as I recall (though I haven’t seen it since last January) and there is no violence.
The Playlist adds:
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.
Steve has also seen the film and tells me that he has zero idea why it would be rating NC-17.
Blue Valentine is being distributed through The Weinstein Company and this is the third time this year the studio has butted heads with the MPAA. The first time was over an “R” rating for The Tillman Story and then an “R” rating for The King’s Speech because Firth says “fuck” about forty-two times in a single sentence and the MPAA’s limit is “three”. As we all know, if someone under the age of 17 hears the word “fuck” more than three times in a movie without a parent or guardian present, that underage person will turn to a life of crime.
The Weinstein Company will most likely appeal the decision, but if they lose they will have to make some cuts. The question is how to make cuts when there aren’t the normally “offensive” factors that land a film a NC-17 like hardcore nudity, sex, and violence. It looks like the MPAA has slapped Blue Valentine with an NC-17 simply because director Derek Cianfrance succeeded in making the audience uncomfortable. The fact that he’s being punished for it is yet another example of why the MPAA is a joke.