Actor Ryan Gosling Explains Initial NC-17 Rating for 'Blue Valentine'

Thursday, December 09, 2010

A soon-to-be-released film about marital drama just won a rare victory. “Blue Valentine,” starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, was initially given an NC-17 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America. The stated reason? Because the film contains “a scene of explicit sexual content.” Many people familiar with the scene described it as a fairly tame sex scene in which William's character receives oral sex. The studio and film's cast and crew appealed the rating, which was changed yesterday by the MPAA. The film is now rated R.

We talk with Ryan Gosling, star of "Blue Valentine," about the initial NC-17 rating. And Takeaway movie contributor Rafer Guzman explains the history of movie ratings and the MPAA.

Guests:

Ryan Gosling and Rafer Guzman

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja and Kristen Meinzer

Comments [2]

Sol

I wish a movie studio would do an NC-17 with sex scenes that fit the plot line and a well developed story to go with it.

Hell, I wish a movie released as NC-17, X, or Unrated would put sex and violence in vivid context AND have it make sense with a well developed plot.

(Let's say more than two sex scenes that look like the actor and actress actually care for each other, a high action violent context that is not afraid to be cruel to modern PC dogma and enough realism that it makes some sense. e.g. Guns don't make things explode into balls of fire very often, bullets don't stop in light wood or metal. Experienced gun fighters don't take a lot of time to kill their opponents. Lots of gun fights equals lots of people dead and wounded.)

I have not gone out to the theaters in years because of all the junk moralizing and cheap suspense that plays out like a public service announcement instead of an interesting story.

Dec. 23 2010 11:38 PM
Linus from New York City

So, you've been snowed by a PR department here, and you've been given bad information.

First, appeals to the MPAA ratings board are not at all uncommon. Kevin Smith has won several appeals, most recently with "Zack and Miri Make a Porno," and generally without making any edits to the film; there are many others, that's just the one that springs to mind.

Second, it is absolutely not true that NC-17 movies are barred from showing in theaters or from placing advertisements. What is true is that a number of companies refuse to accept NC-17 films, on their own initiative. I believe this is largely due to religious groups and their endless capacity to object to art that they have not seen but which they believe, for whatever irrelevant reason, is scandalous.

Third, while it is true that many in the industry believe that "Showgirls" failed because of its NC-17 rating, it is far more likely that "Showgirls" failed because it was an appallingly bad film. When I saw it I was mighty bored, and easily 2/3 of the audience walked out, often with loud and entertaining comments, before the end. Claiming that the NC-17 rating is the reason for that film's failure is like claiming that the film "Burlesque" is awful crap because it features strippers - it may feature strippers, but that's not why it's awful crap.

Bertolucci's "The Dreamers" was released into theater chains with an NC-17 rating without incident; per the Wiki, which is a notoriously inaccurate source, the only newspaper which refused its advertising was a Mormon paper in Salt Lake City.

Dec. 09 2010 09:17 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.