Ryan Gosling Tees Off on 'Misogynistic' MPAA Over Blue Valentine Rating
We can argue forever about the stuntiness of Harvey Weinstein's ratings battles against the MPAA, but no one can take way the man's determination to fight in the most public and prestigious way possible. After all, what better way to overturn Blue Valentine's NC-17 and The King's Speech's R than to dispatch the guy best known for taking Al Gore's case to the Supreme Court in 2000? Or, better yet, siccing your actor on the ratings board?
In a statement received a little while ago at Movieline HQ, The Weinstein Company announced that Bush v. Gore alumnus David Boies, inveterate Hollywood pit bull Bert Fields and high-end litigator Alan R. Friedman are preparing the Ratings Appeal of the Century for their films. But the lawyers' involvement is pretty old news; Harvey's been rattling his saber about this for over a month now. The real good stuff arrives by way of Ryan Gosling and his Valentine co-star Michelle Williams, as aggrieved a pair as any to ever challenge the ratings board:
Gosling comments, "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. The MPAA is okay supporting scenes that portray women in scenarios of sexual torture and violence for entertainment purposes, but they are trying to force us to look away from a scene that shows a woman in a sexual scenario, which is both complicit and complex. It's misogynistic in nature to try and control a woman's sexual presentation of self. I consider this an issue that is bigger than this film."
"The MPAA's decision on Blue Valentine unmasks a taboo in our culture, that an honest portrayal of a relationship is more threatening than a sensationalized one," says Williams. "Mainstream films often depict sex and violence in a manner that is disturbing and very far from reality. Yet, the MPAA regularly awards these films with a more audience friendly rating, enabling our culture's desensitization to violence, rape, torture and brutality. Our film does not depict any of these attributes. It's simply a candid look at the difficulties couples face in sustaining their relationships over time. Blue Valentine opens a door for couples to have a dialogue about the everyday realities of many relationships. This film was made in the spirit of love, honesty and intimacy. I hope that the MPAA will hear our pleas and reconsider their decision."
The only way that can happen, though, is if the Weinsteins accept the NC-17; there's nothing to actually appeal otherwise. The statement adds that while they'd considered releasing Valentine unrated, "in the last 10 days so much support of the film has been garnered that TWC has decided to move forward with an official MPAA appeal."
The same goes for The King's Speech, for what it's worth, whose makers oppose its R-rating for one scene in which King George VI (Colin Firth) repeatedly deploys the F-word in a nonsexual context while receiving speech therapy. "This was a technique that David Seidler, the writer, encountered as a boy in the 1940s -- discovering he didn't stammer on curse words was hugely helpful to him overcoming his speech problems," said director Tom Hooper.
That's the good-cop version of the appeal, which will take place on an unspecified date in a "Special Meeting" (the term for ratings appeals within 25 days of a film's release; Speech opens Nov. 26 in limited release. The bad cop version comes from Fields, of course, who wastes little time drawing the Constitution card. "This rating for The King's Speech is arbitrary and irrational," he said. "In my view, it violates The Weinstein Company's right to freedom of speech under the state and US constitution. It should strike fear in the heart of every director and producer."
Fear! Ha! Olllllld news, buddy. Good luck anyway!