Inefficient MPAA movie ratings pose a challenge for directors

chandy clemens & rachel kaplan

The film you’re dying to see, Saw V, is rated R, but you’re only 16 and entry is only allowed to a more “mature” audience of 17 and above who can handle sequences of strong grisly violence, torture, and language.

The MPAA, an organization of parents who decide for all audiences across America who can and cannot see certain films, is the driving force behind these rating labels that are placed on all American distributed films. Instead of a cautionary, they have become a burden on the art of movie making.

The MPAA has begun to completely undermine directors’ artistic visions in an attempt to lower their ratings and attract a broader audience. This, in effect, forces them to cut and edit certain scenes, warping the movie into something drastically different than it was intended to be.

Biased parents have no right to decide for an entire country who can see certain movies. Out of all of the top grossing movies of 2006 and 2005, only 4 were rated R, compared to the 26 rated PG-13. This puts unfair stress on directors to edit their films down to receive a lower rating and therefore attract a bigger audience.
By universally accepted social values, we are taught violence is immoral––yet it still happens. Films have shown a bright spotlight on violence, advertising it as though it is some sort of new fashion. Hostel is a prime example. The entire film is an excercise in gore and yet casually walked away with an R rating.

However, Darren Aronofsky’s film Requiem for a Dream, which enlightened our perspectives on the drug world in a brutalistic form, was given the kiss of death rating, NC-17. It’s interesting that a film of depth and meaning was little seen at its time of release compared to a film of gore-inducing nature being number one at the domestic box office for two weeks straight.

The MPAA contradicts their own rating system excessively. Censoring films should be left to the sole discretion of parents regarding their children, not by the hand of an organization that accept bribes from major studios to rate their films more lightly. This system of contradictory motives should be finally put to rest after almost 20 years of wrongful ratings and selfish opinions.

The MPAA as a whole needs to be eradicated  from the film industry of America, that in turn needs to adopt a more fair way of rating movies. The United States, a nation based on the principles of free speech and liberty, needs to become less hypocritical by letting full, original versions of films be shown.