Why One Movie Theater Is Allowing High School Kids to See an NC-17-Rated Movie

Why One Movie Theater Is Allowing High School Kids to See an NC-17-Rated Movie

Oct 25, 2013


There's been a lot of controversy surrounding the graphic sex scenes in Abdellatif Kechiche's Blue Is the Warmest Color. There's the uncomfortable public conflict between the director and star Lea Seydoux, the debate about what "real" lesbian sex entails, and the scarlet NC-17 rating that the always prudish MPAA has branded the film with. One theater in New York is taking an entirely different approach to the buzz surrounding the three-hour French coming-of-age drama.

The IFC Center is letting audience members under the age of 17 see Kechiche's movie, ignoring the forbidden rating due to explicit sexual content. "This is not a movie for young children, but it is our judgment that it is not inappropriate for mature, inquiring teenagers who are looking ahead to the emotional challenges and opportunities that adulthood holds,” John Vanco, the IFC Center’s senior VP and general manager, explained in a statement.

Luckily, the United States ratings system is not a government entity (as in the case of Australia or New Zealand). Therefore, the MPAA's recommendations have no legal standing. French cinemas are screening the film with the equivalent of a PG-13 rating, which seems far more realistic considering this is 2013 we're talking about and not the 1950s. Young adults are exposed to, and actively consuming, violent films, video games and explicit music, but somehow a movie about young women in a relationship finding themselves and exploring sex is just too much. Teens can find far more nefarious things on their iPhones and laptops. Hats off to you, IFC Center, for not letting industry pressures influence your opinion.

Tell us if you side with the IFC Center, or agree with the MPAA that Blue Is the Warmest Color is not suitable for teenage viewers.




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