Is the MPAA a Film-Ratings Bully?

To avoid an R-rating, Weinstein issues its teen documentary as "unrated"
Courtesy Weinstein Company

On Friday, the award-winning documentary Bully will be released “unrated” by its distributor, The Weinstein Company. The film, which presents in raw detail the lives of five youths in different parts of America who suffer severe and persistent attacks from peers, was slapped with an “R” rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)  for profane language because the F-bomb gets dropped six times. Weinstein executives argue that such a rating (viewers must be 17+ without parents) would keep kids—its target audience—from seeing the film. So it is opening the documentary without the imprimatur of the industry’s rating system. That decision has drawn lots of media attention, but it won’t necessarily make it easier for kids to see the film.

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