With The Weinstein Company being handed a double dose of bad news for Oscar season with their contenders "Blue Valentine" and "The King's Speech" being handed NC-17 and R ratings, respectively (the former apparently for a scene where Ryan Gosling performs oral sex on Michelle Williams, the latter for a sequence where Colin Firth stutters a bunch of f-bombs), the indie arm isn't taking this lying down.
They've already hired heavyweight lawyers Alan Friedman and David Boies to help in the battle against the MPAA. Friedman has experience with the MPAA, helping Weinstein overturn an NC-17 rating for Kevin Smith‘s “Zack And Miri Make A Porno” while Boies represented Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and helped battle California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage. And now, they've hit the press with some pretty quote-worthy statements from the cast and teams around the film (hence this post).
In a release titled "The Weinstein Company Accepts NC-17 Rating on Blue Valentine in Order to Appeal It" (funny stuff guys), Ryan Gosling is so upset over this thing he goes straight for the p-word saying, "You have to question a cinematic culture which preaches artistic expression, and yet would support a decision that is clearly a product of a patriarchy-dominant society, which tries to control how women are depicted on screen." Whoa, whoa settle down there first year women's studies student. OK, so while the quote sounds like it was lifted out of a term paper, the actor does have a point. The onscreen shenanigans for guys tend to get far more leeway than for women. Frankly, there is more graphic material spoken in most R-rated comedies than is actually shown with painful honesty in "Blue Valentine."
Meanwhile, 'King's Speech' director Tom Hooper is his reserved, British self, simply stating, "I hope that language can be judged by its context just as violence is currently judged in context. The f-word in ‘The King's Speech’ is not being used in its sexual sense, or in its aggressive sense, but as a release mechanism to help a man overcome a stammer in the context of speech therapy."
But if Gosling's cerebral approach and Hopper's practical arguments don't work, lawyer Alan Friedman isn't afraid to go straight to the constitution arguing that the R for "The King's Speech" "violates The Weinstein Company’s right to freedom of speech under the state and US constitution." Clearly this ratings controversy is making everyone lose their heads a little bit; let's hope all the parties involved can cool off and these films can be properly re-assessed.