“Blue Valentine” Gets NC-17 Rating Overturned
We’ve been gearing up for the Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams movie, “Blue Valentine,” for ages now. And so we weren’t happy when the movie was given an NC-17 rating due to an implied oral sex scene. What this means, in the grand scheme of things, is that the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) hates female sexual pleasure. And indie filmmakers. And indie actors.
But luckily, they just overturned their decision, which means I take back those mean things I just said about them. But I’m still skeptical of their intentions. The scene which garnered the NC-17 rating shows (SEMI-SPOILER ALERT) Ryan Gosling going down on Michelle Williams during a high point in their early relationship. Recently, Darren Aronofsky got an R-rating for a similar depiction of oral sex in “Black Swan,” but it’s been said that happened because the scene is presented as a possible hallucination, because the movie was produced by 20th Century Fox (which is part of the six major studios who pay the MPAA), and because the director and actresses are more mainstream. It’s also been proven that in the past, movies depicting a woman’s pleasure in any serious way are often given a harsher rating. It’s more acceptable to show characters talking about or faking an orgasm, making it all hazy and “romantic,” or using it for comedy’s sake. The most realistic female orgasm I can recall in a movie was “When Harry Met Sally,” which says a few things about the state of movies.
“The essence of our film is that it’s intimate and emotional and the sex doesn’t feel fake. It’s an honest relationship between two people, and it feels real because I have great actors,” director Derek Cianfrance told the Times of the infamous “Blue Valentine” scene. “It’s as if the MPAA is saying, ‘Your actors are good — but they’re too good.'”
Thankfully, the Weinstein Company stood by Cianfrance’s decision to not cut the scene, even if they lost the appeal to the MPAA to reconsider their rating. And it turns out it all has worked out! The film will now be rated R, which means that it can be shown in mainstream theaters, distributed to mainstream DVD retailers, and will not cost the distributor millions of dollars for the sake of one honest depiction of sex. This is huge. Maybe you don’t care about this example in particular, but so many recent releases have lost their appeals and lost distribution due to needlessly high ratings. Plus, it’s really for the best that people start learning that women enjoy sex, too. It’s been a well-kept secret up until this point, but (SPOILER ALERT—KIDDING) orgasms are awesome. People should have more of them. I mean, if “Boogie Nights” got an R-rating, you’d think Ryan Gosling going down on a girl could pass. In fact, I’d give it an A+. And to show your support of oral sex for all females and proper rating scales for indie films, go see “Blue Valentine” on December 31.