“Blue Valentine,” the Ryan Gosling- and Michelle Williams-starring indie with a shot at a slew of Oscar nominations, was dealt a surprising blow in October when the Motion Picture Association of America slapped the drama with an NC-17 rating.
Now, after a personal appeal from Weinstein Company co-founder Harvey Weinstein, the MPAA has reversed course and changed the film’s rating to an R, according to Variety.
The film had originally received the restrictive NC-17 rating due to what the MPAA termed a “shocking, gory depiction of a dying marriage.” The most sexually explicit scene showed Gosling performing oral sex on Williams. But as observers pointed out in recent weeks, many films that feature oral sex — such as this year’s “Black Swan,” also an awards-season darling — nonetheless receive an R rating.
The Weinstein Company, which bought “Blue Valentine” after a buzzy debut at the Sundance Film Festival, lodged an official complaint with the MPAA in October. “We respect the work of the MPAA and we hope, after having a chance to sit down with them, they will see that our appeal is reasonable, and the film, which is an honest and personal portrait of a relationship, would be significantly harmed by such a rating,” the company said in a statement at the time.
While the film, which is set to hit theaters December 31, would have seen its advertising opportunities and box-office potential adversely affected by the NC-17 rating, the publicity surrounding the rating also served as something of a PR tool. According to Deadline Hollywood, the MPAA’s reversal came in a unanimous decision.
In a recent interview, Gosling spoke out about what he saw as a ratings double standard when it came to sex scenes on the big screen. “There’s plenty of oral sex scenes in a lot of movies, where it’s a man receiving it from a woman — and they’re R-rated,” he said. ” ’Black Swan’ has an oral scene between two women and that’s an R rating, but ours is between a husband and his wife and that’s NC-17? … It stigmatizes the movie in a big way.”
Check out everything we’ve got on “Blue Valentine.”
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