Feature

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

A cheeky filmmaker dissects Hollywood’s ratings system.

For filmmakers, an NC-17 rating 'œreally means DOA,' said Jason Lynch in People. Theater chains won't book the movie, and Blockbuster won't stock it. So directors and producers self-censor, aiming to earn a more palatable R from the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board. Kirby Dick's riveting new documentary lifts the curtain on this shadowy group. Dick has fun mocking the board members' puritanical 'œobsession with pelvic thrusts' and dirty words, said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. John Waters, Kevin Smith, and others share horror stories about the board's 'œhypocritical double standards,' especially regarding depictions of sex and violence. At times, Dick gets downright personal. He hires private detectives to unmask anonymous board members, digs through the MPAA's trash, and cheekily submits his own film for approval. It's hard to imagine an organization 'œmore arbitrary and less transparent' than the MPAA, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Dick deserves credit for documenting how a process intended to protect children ends up harming art made solely for the eyes of mature adults. But he suggests few solutions, making his film 'œmore of a culture-war broadside than a nuanced work of cultural inquiry.'

Rating: NC-17

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