Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Major lesbian content
Short Take: The hypocrisy of the MPAA’s film rating system is skewered in this documentary.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2006
Duration: 97 min
Language: UK, USA/English
Director: Kirby Dick
Writer: Kirby Dick, Eddie Schmidt
Starring: Kimberly Peirce, Jon Lewis, David Ansen, Martin Garbus, Wayne Kramer, Paul Dergarabedian, Kevin Smith, John Waters, Matt Stone, Richard Heffner, Bingham Ray, Joel Federman, Kirby Dick, Jay Rosenzweig, Paul Huebl

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This Film Is Not Yet RatedThe hypocrisy of the MPAA’s film rating system is skewered in this documentary that is educational, funny and sexy. Filmmaker Kirby Dick goes about exposing the cultural power of the ratings board, its control by major studios, targeting of independent films, acceptance of violence, and censorship of sex that’s not vanilla.

In particular, if films receive an NC-17 rating rather than an R, they usually won’t be released by studios, since they can’t be advertised on television, and dvds won’t be sold in major retail outlets. For most, this means directives to edit specific scenes before going before an appeals board that includes members of the clergy.

Gay and lesbian sex scenes are much more likely to be censored, and the film compares straight sex scenes that were rated R next to very similar lgbt sex scenes that were rated NC-17. Kimberly Peirce, writer/director of Boys Don’t Cry, was asked to edit Lana’s orgasm scene with Brandon (amongst other things) because it was ‘really offensive.’ But I’m A Cheerleader writer/director Jamie Babbit had to cut Megan’s masturbation scene, even though she was fully clothed. Other directors interviewed include John Waters, Kevin Smith, Mary Harron, Matt Stone and others.

There is a lot of sex in this film, since we’re looking at uncut scenes, many centered around female pleasure. There are also a lot of laughs around the absurdity of how the ratings board works and the secrecy around it. Lesbian private investigator Becky Altringer is hired to track down who sits on the board, and we also get a peak into her private life with partner Cheryl and their daughter Lindsey. (AB)