If you were looking for an idea what the MPAA was thinking when they rated Blue Valentine, the trailer holds no answers. The recently released trailer for the film contains no hint of the apparently emotionally raw and uncomfortably grim sex scene that earned the film a baffling NC-17 rating last week. You can check out the trailer below, though you’ll only find a warm introduction to the relationship between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, with vaguely sad faces and tears the only indicators that this is the story of a decaying marriage.
The film, directed by Derek Cianfrance, is a Weinstein Company Sundance acquisition and has received positive reviews from all of its festival appearances. Set to be released on the last day of the year, the film now faces the challenge of a ratings appeal, cutting the film, or trying to push through a successful unrelated release. For a film that is looking to score Oscar attention for its actors, that latter option is a tough one.
The MPAA excels at John Proctoring films into early graves or more-niche-than-necessary releases, and this is no different. The consensus seems to be that the scene is more emotionally uncomfortable than explicit, and responses from many festival-viewers maintain that there isn’t any notable nudity or any violence at all. I’m interested in seeing the film for myself and finding out if there is some dangerous, threatening piece of this film that would merit such a crippling rating, though I think I’m just going to discovery that more MPAA dick-swinging and hyper-conservatism is the culprit.
These ratings were created with the noble idea of giving parents a resource with which to properly decide what their kids can and can not see. We live in a time though, when parents have nearly infinite resources to find out the most minute details about any piece of media their kid might be exposed to, and an era where DVD distribution has seen studios circumventing their own little pet council to make a few extra bucks on UNRATED discs. The over-simplified ratings system has long been rendered useless- it holds literally zero value for filmmakers or for parents, and is simply an outdated ghost of a piss-ant attempt at a Hollywood studio Illuminati.
The theater chains are certainly showing no balls in the small horror-based attempts at ignoring the MPAA, and I have no hope that the rating system will cease entirelyanytime soon, but at least the unstoppable tide of modern digital distribution is making them an increasingly tiny voice pissing into an increasingly loud wind.