US Censors Slammed For Giving Adult Rating To Film About Gay Couple... Even Though It Has No Sex Or Violence


The body which gives US films their classifications has been slammed for giving an adult rating to a film about a retired gay couple, despite it not featuring any sex, drugs or violence.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been accused of homophobia for making ‘Love Is Strange’ only available for adults or accompanied under 17s.

The MPAA says that the certificate was given because of bad language in the film, but some commentators have said that the rating betrays other motives.

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Writing for The Star-Ledger, movie writer Stephen Whitty pointed out that this week ‘Sin City: A Dame To Kill For’, has been released, also rated R, despite every woman being ‘a stripper, a prostitute or a murderer. There is violence and graphic gore, including one scene of a man having his eye plucked out and another of a man having his fingers broken with a pliers’.

Whitty also points out that the movie ‘Jersey Shore Massacre’, also rated R, is out this week and features scenes of equally graphic violence.

He adds: “[In Love Is Strange] There is no nudity. There are no sexual situations. The drug or alcohol material mostly consists of adults having wine with dinner, or cocktails at a bar. There is no violence or gore. There are several scenes of men kissing, and two scenes of a gay couple sleeping together, fully clothed, in bed. It is rated R.

“Not only is there nothing violent in ‘Love Is Strange’, there’s not even anything explicit. It is about as mild and mainstream a portrayal of gay life as you can imagine.

“It’s a simple human story. And it is very hard to imagine that - if it starred, say, Robert Duvall and Jane Fonda as a similar long-time couple suddenly facing homelessness - it would be lumped in with movies crammed full of queasily stylish sexism and sickening torture porn.

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“This is a gentle, if often heartbreaking story about two loving men in a long-time committed relationship. What on earth is in it that so horrifies the MPAA? I’m sorry. I think I just answered my own question.”

Added movie writer J. Bryan Lowder on Slate: “Let’s hope parents are smarter than this. There is nothing ‘adult’ or at all worrisome about a movie that quietly and gently portrays a gay couple and their struggles.

“To think otherwise is to participate in an insidious sort of homophobia that uses child-sized human shields to disguise basic prejudice.”

The movie, directed by Ira Sachs and which stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as an ageing couple suddenly faced with homelessness, was given a PG rating in Canada, and a 15 rating in the UK. 

Photo credit: Sony