MPAA Slaps Blue Valentine with an NC-17

Saw this news story on where they speculate it’s because of a sex scene in a hotel. On the contrary, my friends, this is due entirely to a scene where Ryan Gosling brings Michelle Williams to the big-o with oral sex. What do you want to bet? The scene is fairly graphic in that it seems real, which is the highest compliment one can pay an actor. Deadline’s Mike Flemming, who broke the story, thinks it’s because of the hotel room sex scene – I doubt it. I’ve seen sex scenes like that one in plenty of films. The oral sex scene, though? Not very often:

It wasn’t immediately clear what TWC and the filmmakers will do. Certainly the notoriety will help get the film attention, but it seems clear that if they fail in the appeals process, they will have to cut the film to get an R rating, if the picture is to have a shot at broadening beyond a very small release. There are likely complications in running an NC-17 film through TWC’s ancillary deals. This is the third Oscar season film on which TWC has butted heads with the MPAA. Weintstein lost a challenge appealing the R rating given The Tillman Story, and he has virtually no chance to overturn the R rating given The King’s Speech. The latter film, which many feel will be a strong contender for Best Picture and other awards, lost its chance at the PG-13 because of a scene in which speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) helps King George VI (Colin Firth) overcome his stammer by peppering his speech with curse words. He says “fuck” about 42 times in a short amusing sequence. Everybody knows there is a three “fucks” before the R is given, and Firth blows past that in a single line. Director Tom Hooper told Deadline recently that he won’t change a frame, but is perplexed that a scene that falls within the context of the film gets an R while a PG-13 is given to Salt despite Angelina Jolie getting waterboarded, and Casino Royale even though Daniel Craig has his testicles pummeled in a rather graphic scene. Hooper felt that the MPAA doesn’t consider context when it comes to curse words. The Blue Valentine initial rating is bound to raise similar questions.

Meanwhile, you all might enjoy this letter from Monty Python about appealing to the rating board, after the jump.

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