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Fox Searchlight wearing Shame's NC-17 like a badge of honor

10.24.2011

Usually when a film gets rated NC-17 in Hollywood, it’s a disaster. Directors and editors scramble to cut it down to an R without sacrificing artistic integrity, and it’s something particular people in the industry (Kevin Smith and the Weinsteins come to mind) have to deal with routinely.

So why then is Fox Searchinglight not only protesting, but actually celebrating the NC-17 rating for SHAME? The film stars Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and is a graphic portrayal of a sex addict, which is why the rating is present. It seems they want to make a stand as Searchlight’s Steve Gilula explains:

"I think NC-17 is a badge of honor, not a scarlet letter. We believe it is time for the rating to become usable in a serious manner. The sheer talent of the actors and the vision of the filmmaker are extraordinary. It’s not a film that everyone will take easily, but it certainly breaks through the clutter and is distinctive and original. It’s a game changer."

As this isn’t some rinky-dink studio, it’s one that’s brought us SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, JUNO and BLACK SWAN, the industry might actually sit up and take notice, and Fox wants to push to film for awards the way it did for those others.

Honestly, I think this is great, as I think it’s time we grew the hell up when it comes to ratings like this. Is there really THAT much of a different between a sexual and violent movie where parents must accompany their kids, and one that kids aren’t allowed in at all? Hell, I’d be perfectly happy if they banned ALL kids from rated R movies, as there are only a fraction who actually will show up with their parents, and half the time they’re crying babies.

But the problem is with the numbers. People cut R-rated movies down to PG-13 because they will automatically make more cash. They cut NC-17 to R, because the former barely make any money at all in the theaters, as the rating is akin to something like hardcore pornography in many people’s minds, even if there’s a particularly good film contained within. Hopefully Fox’s efforts will not go to waste, and the rating can someday become a viable option for films who don’t want to sacrifice to please censors.

Extra Tidbit: Is my banning kids from R movies idea controversial? Any parents out there object?
Source: THR

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