They have decreed that Love is Strange should have the same rating as Saw III (“strong grisly violence and gore, sequences of terror and torture, nudity and language”), My Bloody Valentine (“graphic brutal horror violence and grisly images throughout, some strong sexuality, graphic nudity and language”), and the new Sin City film (“strong brutal stylised violence throughout, sexual content, nudity, and brief drug use”).
It’s an insult to anyone’s intelligence to find that Love is Strange received its R for nothing more than “some strong language”. What – not even a teensy-weensy bit of terror and torture? No grisly images or graphic nudity? I wonder if the director, Ira Sachs, feels a bit like the faithful spouse accused erroneously of adultery: if he is going to be pilloried anyway, maybe he should have committed the crime for which he is being punished and thrown in a few chainsaw murders just for the hell of it.
Two nights ago, my fiancée and I watched Captain American: The Winter Soldier. Mid-way through the action packed, gunplay heavy film, she looked over at me and said, “it’s amazing they blame video games for gun violence.”
She echoed my thoughts exactly. I felt that I had seen more violence in this semi-children’s film than any video game I had played over the past year. There was something unnerving about the amount of bullets spraying into the air, masses of headshots, and deadly explosions. Something Polygon brought to light after this years E3 Expo. It was a feeling I’d also experienced weeks prior at a showing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Both films are rated PG-13.
I’m not saying that overboard gun violence shown in films is a problem; though, I am now easier unsettled than I when I saw The Matrix in high school. All I’m saying is that if violence isn’t the reason for an R rating, then we need to reevaluate the measure of two f-bombs (something kids are prone to hearing multiple times per day on streets, schoolyards, and homes) and/or expressions of sexuality or acts of sex that are completely natural landing R ratings. If a 13-year-old, nay the swaths of children that watched Captain America: The Winter Solider and/or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, can handle lengthy gun battles and on-screen death, then a bit of language and sexuality is not going to hurt any.
Update: Ghostbusters, rated PG. Kids of the 80s sure turned out rotten.