It's a marital drama so intense, no one under the age of 17 will be allowed see it, much to the dismay of its makers.
Those swearing-and-sex-fearing folks on the Motion Picture Association of America's ratings board have slapped the Weinstein Company's buzzworthy Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams vehicle, Blue Valentine, with an NC-17 rating, shocking all those (including yours truly) who saw the film at Sundance and Cannes earlier this year.
Then again, if you're Harvey Weinstein, it's just more good publicity for the film.
Valentine, directed by up-and-comer Derek Cianfrance, tells the story of a young working-class couple through the intertwining of two narrative threads: the past when they first meet and fall in love, and the present, as their marriage disintegrates.
According to Deadline.com, the notorious rating (which was intended to erase the stigma of the dreaded "X") was given for a hard-to-watch scene in which the husband and wife try to rekindle their romance by spending the night in a hotel, only for Gosling's character to get drunk and force her to have sex. Williams' character acquiesces just to get him off her back, but it's a scene that, while lacking explicit nudity, suggests deep emotional violence as the two realize their union is over.
The MPAA declined to say specifically what the board (which is a representative panel of parents) objected to, citing longheld policy. It did note that filmmakers have the option to appeal the rating.
"As part of the Classification and Rating System process, when a rating is offered, every independent filmmaker has the option of accepting the rating, appealing the rating, editing the film and resubmitting it or releasing the film unrated," read a statement from the board. "If they choose to appeal the rating, the appeals board is composed of distributors, exhibitors and industry people who will either uphold or overturn the rating."
No word yet on whether filmmakers will recut the film and try for R. A rep for the Weinstein Company did not return a phone call seeking comment.