Blue Valentine

2010 was the first time I’d ever been to the Sundance Film Festival and the first movie I saw there was Blue Valentine, a devastating parallel portrayal of both the blossoming and wilting of a modern relationship starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams and directed by Derek Cianfrance. With those two stars, two powerful performances and a beautiful structure, I figured the film was destined to at least be seen by audiences for awards contention and that seemed to be its destiny when The Weinstein Company purchased the film at the festival. So now, with the film nearing its limited release date in December, a trailer has finally been released and – in even more surprising news -  the MPAA has given it an NC-17 rating. Hit the jump to read why and see the brand new trailer.

Does that really look at an NC-17 movie? Of course not. But, according to Deadline, here’s why the film was given the rating:

The rating was given for a scene in which the characters played by Gosling and Williams try to save their crumbling marriage by spending a night away in a hotel. They get drunk and their problems intensify when he wants to have sex and she doesn’t, but will to get him off her back. That hurts his pride and the result is an upsetting scene that makes you squirm, but is an honest one that establishes clearly that  this couple has nothing left and isn’t going to make it because love has turned into contempt.

The scene in question is certainly a little hard to watch, but not because it’s graphic. It’s hard to watch because it’s emotional and uncomfortable. But that’s the scene’s intent. The MPAA is just plain nuts when they levy ratings based on a specific amount of curse words or bare skin shown (there’s some nudity, but not a lot, in the movie) yet a movie where someone gets raped or their head bashed in or chopped off gets an R no problem.

I’d imagine The Weinstein Company will use this news to gain awareness for the film (which, I know, I’m now guilty of doing) and then put it through the appeal process. Either way, it’s certainly Oscar bait for both Gosling and Williams and the Weinstein’s will definitely want to get the film into theaters before the end of the year.

Which makes you want to see the film more: the NC-17 rating or trailer?

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