Friday, November 19, 2010

Outrage in Ratings

Blue Valentine has been getting a lot of hype recently, mostly because of the NC-17 rating it's unjustly received from the MPAA. First of all, before ranting about the stupidity of this rating, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams definitely prove that they are indie film legends in the making. Both actors are brilliant, real, and the choices they make are interesting and surprising. Anyone that has been in a long term relationship can immediately relate to this movie not necessarily because your situation is similar, but because the actors are completely relatable and sympathetic.

After seeing the film with my boyfriend Robert Levin, we discussed Michelle Williams' career and how of many actresses in Hollywood, she is one to emulate. I never grew up watching TV shows that many people my age watched - Saved by the Bell, Dawson's Creek, Seventh Heaven, even Friends I've only seen a few times. Rob reminded me that Williams was on Dawson's Creek and I was shocked to say the least. Her career is one Oscar performance after another - I was in awe of the simplistically smart performance in "Wendy and Lucy" and am excited to see every film she's in. If my career path could follow hers, I would be one of the happiest people on earth.

Now on to my rant... the fact that this film was "awarded" and NC-17 rating is outrageous, ludicrous, and my immediate reaction - completely sexist. There is NO full frontal nudity in the film AT ALL. The sex scenes are not explicit, long lasting, or overly graphic, however they are integral to the development of the characters and necessary for the arc of the film. I'm particularly outraged because I personally think that the NC-17 rating comes from Ryan Gosling's character (I'm trying to figure out a delicate way to write this) going down on Michelle Williams' character twice in the film. These scenes didn't make me uncomfortable in any way as some sex scenes do, but instead made me understand the characters. Gosling's character gives everything he has -- he is passionate, will work a dead end job to support his family and will do anything in his power to keep his family together. Williams, however, is the opposite, she lives internally and sacrifices quietly, as it eats her up inside.

The NC-17 rating, I think, is sexist because if a woman receives pleasure down below, it's not okay or too explicit, but if a guy does it's okay and if mommy and daddy bring their 16 year kid they can easily explain what a BJ is? Sorry MPAA, but that's not how life works. There should be more equality in film with sexual representation on screen between males and females, and not only that, but sexuality - these are two different things. If Williams' character was raped it probably would've been an R rating, but if she gets joy out of a sexual experience it gets an NC-17???? I'm horrified. As an actress and a woman, I'm pissed.

This movie should be R. Late teens should be able to see this movie, especially those in relationships. It's about people. It's not about chopping people up, ripping their guts out and blowing their heads off. It's not about revenge. It's not about exploitation. It's about two people who love each other.


  1. I agree with your point of view and commend you for speaking out.

  2. Hey Vicki, I totally agree!! Although I have yet to see the film (your review definitely piqued my interest), I had heard about it and was wondering what it had done to receive the NC-17 rating. I'm a film student and an aspiring film maker, and I feel there are many movies that have ratings they don't deserve. If this were my film, I would be furious, because NC-17 is automatically a label that many people don't understand and won't give a chance (think "Showgirls"). I'm also a fan of Ryan Gosling and have recently become a Michelle Williams fan (since I saw "Shutter Island," which she was so fantastic in), so this is a movie I'm definitely adding to my "must-see" list. Thanks for sharing your opinion!!