Monday, April 11, 2011

Audiences Want A Foul-Mouthed King's Speech

Ratings and The King’s Speech

Last week, The King’s Speech was released with a PG-13 rating. This means that the very funny and important scene where Colin Firth’s future King of England spouts the F-word repeatedly, will be altered or cut entirely.

It’s a shame that in an otherwise chaste film, the producers feel it’s necessary to alter this scene. I certainly hope this does not become a new trend.

I actually applauded this film as jumping on the bandwagon for the year of the F-word. CeeLo Green’s F*** You and Mumford and Sons hit Little Lion Man also prominently features the great F-word. Look at me; I censor it too, so maybe we’re simply not ready. However, if we’re attempting to keep this word from children…give me a break! Every cable show simply bleeps it out when it’s obvious what is being said. If Snookie is on a drunken tirade on Jersey Shore and she’s being bleeped, I don’t think kids think she’s saying Fudge!

It’s hard to believe that you can’t explain to kids that the F-word was being used in the context of The King releasing himself and allowing his walls to come down. The makers of this film also need to realize that very young kids would find this film horribly boring so they do not have to worry about six or eight years olds getting the wrong impression. Honestly, they would be asleep before that scene comes on screen. PG-13 means teen right? Seriously, you cannot communicate with older kids that there are words you hear, but it’s not okay to repeat them?

Colin Firth has been very vocal about not supporting this change. The Studios seem to have the feeling that this brings the film to the masses, but if you want a lame watered down version, why not wait until it’s on TV?

The rating of PG-13 was not added until the 80’s when the violence level in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, seriously pushed the limits of what could be considered family entertainment. In the film a guy ripped someone’s pulsing heart out of their chest! The extra in-between rating also helped to develop a new category for films with mild sex scenes and of course, foul language. Yet somehow, the F-word in still considered too much for young peoples ears. So again, you can rip out someone’s pulsing heart from their chest but that little four letter word can never be without the context of an otherwise, completely PG-13 film.

As I write this I’m watching repeats of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Comedy Central. It’s 9pm and Sweet Dee just said s**t. They say it at lease once every episode, on basic cable! Can you explain this to me? Hello, antiquated ratings board, wake up and join all of us in the real world.

1 comment:

Runs Like A Gay said...

I'm always fascinated by the bizarre double standard that exists within the MPAA towards violence against swearing and sexual activities. The King's Speech in this regard is an interesting point.

Taking that scene out would hardly help the movie, as you point out it's about Bertie letting rip of his inhibitions, so there's little justification for it's removal plotwise.

On the other hand as you point out this is not a movie for children, and if your young kids are mature enough to cope with the style and message of the movie then surely they are mature enough to realise why the language is being used and what the impact is.

Frankly it's a bizarre decision by Harvey Weinstein to release it. However $3m extra is nothing to be sniffed at, and I suspect it cost very little to redistribute so perhaps he'll be crying all the way to the bank.