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Arts and Entertainment

Film Review: This Film Is Not Yet Rated

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If you’ve ever wondered why most sex scenes in mainstream American movies suck (and not in the good way), then this movie is for you. This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a surprisingly good documentary that unearths the shadowy mechanisms of the MPAA’s “voluntary” movie rating system. This film is very smartly directed by Kirby Dick and cleverly edited by Matthew Clarke, fastidiously untangling the collusion between movie studios and the government to censor movies.

Dick doesn't simply explain the ratings system or highlight its numerous hypocrisies (extreme violence is okay while moderate sexuality is not; vastly differing standards for hetero and homo sex scenes; different treatment for studio vs. art films; male pleasure is acceptable but female pleasure is not), he contextualizes the MPAA's subjective and frequently moronic ratings within larger cultural and socio-economic structures. Given the increasing globalization and corporate consolidation in the entertainment industry, it was surprising but not shocking to learn that the MPAA's rating appeals board is almost entirely composed of people from studios, distribution companies and theater chains. The other two members are an Episcopalian priest and a Catholic priest.

With all the information Dick dishes out, it's impressive how entertaining and immensely fun he manages to make This Film Is Not Yet Rated, which unsurprisingly received an NC-17 when it was first submitted to the MPAA.