Stephen Frears’ Philomena is getting ready to hit theatres, with its Christmas Day release date quickly approaching. After a strong premiere in both Toronto and Venice earlier this year, the film is arriving with a strong amount of buzz. Everything’s looking good for the potential awards contender except one small hiccup: it’s been assigned an R rating from the MPAA.
While this may not seem like a big deal, especially since the film is geared towards an audience over the age of 17, Harvey Weinstein is still going to fight for a PG-13. I don’t blame him either. The reason that the MPAA gave for the rating was because the word “fuck” is used twice in the film.
To me, that’s an absolutely ridiculous reason to assign Philomena an R rating. It is literally absurd. There have been many films in the past that have gotten away with a PG-13 rating despite using profanity. The Social Network is probably the most recent example of a film that used “fuck” twice but still didn’t get an R. And besides, how often do we see a PG-13 film that completely steps over its boundaries when it comes to sex and violence? Yet for some reason, including two instances of profanity is deemed to be a worse offence by the MPAA.
As I mentioned above, it’s not like the film is intended for a young audience anyways. The vast majority of people who will see be seeing it will no doubt be well above the age of 17. The MPAA is one of the most flawed organizations in the industry and they have let much worse than a couple F-bombs slip by in films that have received a PG-13.
I haven’t seen Philomena yet, so I can’t comment too much further on this. But just from what’s being reported, this seems completely nuts and I’m happy to hear that Harvey is fighting it.