Sunday, February 26, 2012

'Bully' Problems: The MPAA Gives A Scarlett 'R' To A Thoughtful Documentary

Linda Holmes

February 24, 2012

The Weinstein Company has lost an appeal to the MPAA, which has smacked an R rating on the painful documentary Bully (which I saw at Silverdocs last year when it was called The Bully Project), from filmmaker Lee Hirsch.

The rating is for language — meaning that the reason the ratings organization is taking the position that the movie isn't appropriate for kids to see without their parents is not that it depicts violence and trauma and the aftermath of the suicides of children, but because an environment full of teenagers, when realistically portrayed, includes swearing.

The MPAA sent out a polite statement that says, in part:

Bullying is a serious issue and is a subject that parents should discuss with their children. The MPAA agrees with the Weinstein Company that Bully can serve as a vehicle for such important discussions.

The MPAA also has the responsibility, however, to acknowledge and represent the strong feedback from parents throughout the country who want to be informed about content in movies, including language.

The rating and rating descriptor of 'some language,' indicate to parents that this movie contains certain language. With that, some parents may choose to take their kids to this movie and others may not, but it is their choice and not ours to make for them. The R rating is not a judgment on the value of any movie. The rating simply conveys to parents that a film has elements strong enough to require careful consideration before allowing their children to view it. Once advised, many parents may take their kids to see an R-rated film. School districts, similarly, handle the determination of showing movies on a case-by-case basis and have their own guidelines for parental approval.

Read more HERE.

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