Theater management wants kids to see molestation movie

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Warning - trailer may contain images the viewer could find revolting

Blue Is the Warmest Color is a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old girl discovering her own sexuality. As part of that story, it contains extended and graphic lesbian sex scenes.

It has, unsurprisingly, been given an NC-17 rating

But that doesn’t mean teens 17 and under won’t be able to check it out.

As the New York Times reports, at least one of the handful of theaters that will open the movie tomorrow has decided that, in this case, the rating doesn’t really matter.

At New York City‘s IFC Center (interestingly, a cousin of the film’s U.S. distributor, Sundance Selects), “inquiring teenagers” of “high school age” will be allowed to purchase tickets, since the theater’s management has decided that the topic will be relevant and appropriate for teens who are “looking ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds.”

Usually, an NC-17 rating means absolutely no one under 18 is allowed into the theater — as opposed to an R rating, which requires those 16 and under to be accompanied by a guardian — but MPAA ratings are recommendations rather than requirements. (Studios can receive sanctions for misusing the ratings system, for example by receiving a rating and then failing to display it properly, but theaters are not involved in that and the ratings have no legal teeth.)

IFC Center’s decision is a nod to an ongoing debate about movie ratings and what is or is not appropriate for children and teens.

The MPAA says that NC-17 does not necessarily indicate that a movie is pornographic, in a negative sense, just that due to “violence, sex, aberrational behavior, drug abuse, or any other element that most parents would consider too strong” it is not appropriate for children.

In practice, however, sex is what puts a movie over the top; the MPAA’s own ratings tracker website makes that clear.

Every single movie to receive an NC-17 rating over the last five years (fewer than 10 in total) has involved explicit sexual content, and the same trend holds true well before that, implying that the ratings board believes younger audiences are better prepared for gore than for passion.

In reporting on the IFC Center’s decision, the Times‘ A.O. Scott noted that he feels Blue is ”a movie that may be best appreciated by viewers under the NC-17 age cut-off,” due to the age of its protagonist — and that his own 14-year-old daughter has seen it twice.
It's OK. A responsible liberal teacher will be there to guide its students through this educational sex odyssey.
It's OK. A responsible liberal teacher will be there to guide its students through this educational sex odyssey.


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