Rated R

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Email -- Filament.io 0 Flares ×

I once had a discussion with someone a couple of years ago about the movie The Breakfast Club. This individual stated that the film was rated R and I did not believe it. I could have sworn it was rated lower. So I did a bit of sleuthing and I discovered something interesting. This individual was correct: it was rated R. The thing is though that the R rating was a US rating; in Canada, it was rated PG-13.

This brought up an interesting conversation: when the Brethren state that we should not watch R-rated films, are they referring to US ratings, or are they referring to the ratings of the films where one lives? Should I have based my decision to watch The Breakfast Club on the US system (where the general authorities live), or should I have based it on my local rating system?

Perhaps this is something the brethren recognised, and that is why we rarely hear this specific counsel anymore.

Which actually brings up something else. What about films that were originally R-rated, but have been edited to remove objectionable content? While it may be true that one would be following the letter of the law in not watching an R-rated film per se, it is also true that at some point the R-rated film had to be purchased. In one sense, such an individual would still be supporting R-rated movies.

66 thoughts on “Rated R

  1. Just to respond, I find Uncle Vanya highly dependent on creating emotional states, almost as much as The Seagull.

  2. Kim: “It is the final product that has emotion, if any.”

    I agree, but based on the writings of Aristotle, who was essentially making a scientific record of his observations of the ancient Greek theater, I would say their end products were rich in techniques designed to evoke audience emotions.

  3. With regard to Uncle Vanya, you’re talking about the intellectual content of the script, whereas the emotional elements are separate and show up on stage (as you said).

  4. With regard to techniques, I guess I’m relying more on Aristotle’s descriptions of dramatic structure than anything else. When he says the plays contained elements of climax, crisis and catharsis, I see some emotional as well as intellectual content in those elements.

    I have to confess it’s been 14 years since I received my theater degree, so my recollection of Aristotle may be highly imperfect.

  5. “the emotional elements are separate and show up on stage (as you said).”

    Just to be clear, I did not say that emotional aspects always show up on the stage, just that if emotional aspects were to show up in a play, ti would be on the stage and not in the script.

    That being said, we must have seen different versions of Uncle Vanya because I felt absolutely no emotion during it. Now, Blood Relations on the other hand…(of course, we just had crappy actors at the production I saw).

  6. I may also be using a milder definition of “emotion.” I’m not talking just about feeling great swaths of passion, but also of the ordinary, everyday feelings that characterize everyday life. I think when an audience feels “sympathetic” or “interested” or “intrigued” or “amused” it’s feeling emotions. I think there are various points in Uncle Vanya where the audience is led to feel sympathetic with a homely woman, disgusted with the man for whom she bears unrequited love, etc.

  7. …Or perhaps not even disgusted; just disappointed. Disappointed in him for not being nobler, and disappointed WITH her in not having her love returned. Those are emotions, aren’t they?

  8. (By the way, do you think having a couple of theater guys talk shop like this is going to drive away the other folks who want to talk about the topic of the post?)

  9. Having asked that question, I’ll now go on to indulge myself further:

    A stronger example: I think the audience is meant to feel sympathetic emotions when Oedipus appears with his eyes gouged out. I think they are meant to feel, with him, the horror of recognition.

    Which, of course leads to two questions: (1) Am I right? and (2) does this just mean that Oedipus falls into the “tiny subset” of emotional theater?

  10. I don’t know if you’re right. I have never seen it performed. When I read the play, I certainly didn’t feel sorry for him for the situation that was brought to his attention, but it did make me reflect on the fact that things are not always what they seem, not even when such things are very close. This is particularly the case for victims of abuse I know who fell victim to people that were very close to them.

  11. The theme that most struck me when I read Oedipus in my freshman year at BYU was that Oedipus had no redeemer. He was objectively guilty of killing his father and bedding his mother, yet his ignorance made him, in a sense, innocent. But there was no one to bridge the gap and save him from the objective guilt. There are no saviors on Mount Olympus. (I realize he was forgiven later, but forgiveness by a capricious god is not the same as actual redemption by a just God.)

  12. MahNahvu: Regarding comment 43, I should thank you for your graciousness. (Or should I suspect you of flattery? ;) )

    I think a more interesting question is whether YOU thought I was insulting someone, and if so, why.

    But if you think this line of inquiry will do more harm than good, you’re welcome to leave it alone.

  13. I sometimes think (or at least hope) that if the church leaders who had counseled/commanded againt R-rated movies had known how legalistic people would have become about it, they would have worded things differently.

    I see very, very few R-rated films, because very few of them are edifying. (I think I succumbed once last year and saw “The Constant Gardener,” which was, if anything can be, an intellectual thriller. I found the film intgriguing.) I actually think there’s more danger in many PG-13 films, which can be more likely to go wink-wink at sin rather than present it unblinkingly.

    I have no criticism of those who refuse to see any R-rated film. But I do think that those who believe that anything with a softer rating is automatically OK are seriously mistaken.

Leave a Reply