‘Blue Valentine’ wins ratings appeal, ‘King’s Speech’ loses

Posted by · 1:23 pm · December 8th, 2010

It’s justice for “Blue Valentine” today as Harvey Weinstein’s appeal of the MPAA’s NC-17 rating has gone through, allowing for the film to receive an R and continue to reap the benefits of this publicity in the industry.  Weinstein showed up personally (a first) to argue the decision and the board overturned its original rating.

But he was one-and-one, as “The King’s Speech,” which had been rated R for language (specifically a scene in which Colin Firth spouts of the f-word continuously as part of his character’s speech impediment therapy), will not be getting the preferred PG-13.

I’m really stoked this went through for Derek Cianfrance and company, though.  It came on the heels of a number of stories concerning double standards with perceptions of oral sex in films like “Blue Valentine” and “Black Swan,” and actor Ryan Gosling has certainly been vocal about his feelings on the matter.  The pressure was on, and rightly so.  All is well.

By the way, “Blue Valentine” star Michelle Williams is set to be honored by the American Cinemateque Saturday at the Aero Theatre here in Los Angeles.  SAG Film Society chair Timothy Blake will be moderating the discussion with the actress.  The discussion will be followed by a screening of the film.

[Photo: The Weinstein Company]

→ 21 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

21 responses so far

  • 1 12-08-2010 at 1:37 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Pretty cool. How often is Harvey Weinstein seen as a force for *good* in Hollywood these days?

    If Gosling and Williams are as good as people say, then hopefully this ratings victory will translate into more Oscar buzz for their performances.

  • 2 12-08-2010 at 1:37 pm

    Loyal said...

    Big win for Harvey. I saw Blue Valentine several months back and it’s absolutely one of the year’s best films. Gosling and Williams both without a doubt deserve Oscars.

  • 3 12-08-2010 at 1:39 pm

    al b. said...

    This is very bittersweet. I’m happy that a good film like Blue Valentine that depicts sex with real emotion got its rating overturned, but the fact that the superior King’s Speech will get an R just because of a few ‘fucks’, and no violent or sexual themes, no objectionable content whatsoever! God forbid our children hear a naughty word! I must disagree with your last sentence Kris, all is not well here.

  • 4 12-08-2010 at 1:51 pm

    Anna said...

    I’m happy for Blue Valentine, but I really think the R-rating for The King’s Speech is FAR more ridiculous than Blue Valentine getting an NC-17 (which they could at least argue that it does have very strong sexual themes). The King’s Speech has one short scene with strong language, in very harmless context. The rest of the movie would probably be rated PG.

  • 5 12-08-2010 at 2:00 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Great news for Blue Valentine!

    As for The King’s Speech, I think it was inevitable.. And in all honesty, I don’t think it’s going to hurt it much at all (and similarly if they’d won the appeal it wouldn’t have helped that much) considering there really aren’t going to be all that many teenagers wanting to see it to begin with. Perhaps an R-rating could scare off a few adults (who knows?), but on the whole I don’t think it’ll make a difference.

    It’s far more important that Blue Valentine overturned the NC-17 since that would’ve really hurt it since many theaters don’t book NC-17 films.

  • 6 12-08-2010 at 2:17 pm

    Ella said...

    They refused to hear the appeal for TKS because it was made too late; you have to appeal 25 business days before the movie opens. Procedural bullshit.

  • 7 12-08-2010 at 2:42 pm

    RJL said...

    The first “Restricted” (an Ontario rating of yore forbidding anyone under the age of 18 from attending) movies I ever saw was ‘This Property Is Condemned’ (1966). How shocking it was to hear Mary Badham ask Natalie Wood, “Did you do it?” Things have certainly changed since 1966. For the better? I’m not sure. Movies were probably more powerful decades ago without explicit sex and moreso without explicit violence. As well, there was just as much power without ‘street’ language. Should movies direct society or reflect society? Which came first – the chicken or the egg? Why would I pay to go see a movie with language which I can hear anytime for free on a seamy street corner? Movies can be just as good (probably better) with no violence, no sexual content, and ‘respectable’ language. No, I’m not a prude. But including these three things does not art make.

  • 8 12-08-2010 at 2:44 pm

    Hans said...

    AMPAS hasn’t opted for a PG-13 movie since Million Dollar Baby. There might be a perception that awarding films with R-ratings means choosing a film that’s somehow more “mature”. This may just be the kind of thing TKS needs to hold its ground against TSN, which not only has a PG-13 rating but is about Facebook, a largely younger-generation-and-could-be-perceived-as-“immature” phenomenon.

  • 9 12-08-2010 at 2:47 pm

    Joe7827 said...

    I haven’t seen it yet, so I can’t comment on the “context”, but… they had to have known that so many F words would be an “R”, right? Sure, it’s funny; sure, it’s light-hearted and inoffensive; but rules are rules, and if you really didn’t want an R rating, you could’ve just used another word instead. (Arbitrary topic for another time: why can you say 20 “S***” in a row and probably get a PG-13, while the same number of “F****” will get you an R? What makes one word worse than the other?)

  • 10 12-08-2010 at 2:58 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    This is very bittersweet. I’m happy that a good film like Blue Valentine that depicts sex with real emotion got its rating overturned, but the fact that the superior King’s Speech will get an R just because of a few ‘fucks’, and no violent or sexual themes, no objectionable content whatsoever! God forbid our children hear a naughty word! I must disagree with your last sentence Kris, all is not well here.”

    Get over it. The F word is what the R rating was created for.
    Btw anyone who wants to see a PG-13 with several uses of the F word checkout “A Family Thing” (1996).

  • 11 12-08-2010 at 3:11 pm

    Graysmith said...

    The US rating system is ridiculous. The King’s Speech gets an R-rating for one scene of “obscenity”, and in my own country it’ll most likely be allowed for those 11 or older. In the UK (where it was also appealed and succeeded) it has a 12A rating, allowed from ages 12 and up.

  • 12 12-08-2010 at 3:18 pm

    Loyal said...

    I haven’t seen The King’s Speech but why not simply remove the “fucks” if the PG-13 is so desired? I’d imagine that short scene isn’t paramount to the larger story being told.

  • 13 12-08-2010 at 3:49 pm

    Michael said...

    This exposure about the whole rating scandal is nice, but it feel like it is preaching to the choir b/c outside of cinephiles who follow more artsy films, the general public still doesn’t know what is going on (or care.) What they really need to do is put down more money for marketing so people are actually aware of the film. Don’t get me wrong, I really really want to see it when it comes out (and I hope it comes out eventually near me so I can see it in theaters) but I still don’t think that this news is going to do much for the film if there isn’t any marketing to make people aware of the film.

  • 14 12-08-2010 at 3:54 pm

    Nelson said...

    This is bittersweet, with The King’s Speech losing, but it is still great news overall. I imagine this well help its Oscar run so much. Michael, I agree with your comment.

  • 15 12-08-2010 at 4:26 pm

    JFK said...

    Excellent new for Blue Valentine, it is definitely one of the best I’ve seen this year.

  • 16 12-08-2010 at 4:49 pm

    al b. said...

    RJL: Well said!

  • 17 12-08-2010 at 5:01 pm

    Meli said...

    So I guess fuck is still not just a word.

  • 18 12-08-2010 at 7:40 pm

    daveylow said...

    @ Loyal–the scene with the multiple “F” words in The King’s Speech would not be easily cut. It marks a moment when the Bertie character can let out his inhibitions. It’s also a very funny scene.

  • 19 12-08-2010 at 8:50 pm

    mikhael said...

    i don’t think the scene should be edited. it was a fast spontaneous scene. they don’t just say fuck, a lot of other cursing words also, but it was proved to be fun where the audience had a big laugh watching that scene.

  • 20 12-08-2010 at 9:12 pm

    MJS said...

    I’m kind of glad The King’s Speech lost its appeal. I mean, if you want to change the rules for the rating I’m all for it, but if you’re going to have a “multiple ‘Fucks’ = R” rule I’d like them to at least be consistent about it. Dozens of movies a year get rated R for language only and I don’t want the MPAA deciding that the same rules don’t apply to Weinstein produced movies about kings.

  • 21 12-09-2010 at 6:47 am

    cineJAB said...

    does this bring Blue Valentine back into the mix for a Best Picture nod? I think Gosling and Williams nominations are inevitabilities now with all of this press surrounding their apparent “Career-best” performances.