This story has been updated below.
Today, the Weinstein Company (TWC) announced plans to fight the Motion Picture Association of America’s (MPAA) decision to brand their upcoming trans-themed film with an R-rating.
The film 3 Generations (or About Ray) stars Naomi Watts as a woman who must track down her ex in order to get his permission to allow their child to undergo gender transitioning care.
The MPAA has rated 3 Generations with an R — restricted to moviegoers under the age of 17 without a parent. But the filmmakers say it’s unfair and queerphobic.
“The fact that an R rating would prevent high school students from seeing this film would truly be a travesty,” TWC co-chair Harvey Weinstein said.
Weinstein hopes to bring the rating down to PG-13, like he did with Bully a few years ago. To that end, he has hired a lawyer who worked on overturning Proposition 8.
3 Generations is scheduled to make its American debut on May 5.
Rating queer content
The MPAA’s job is to classify films into age-appropriate ratings based on their content. But the association has been accused of bias in the past. Many filmmakers say the MPAA is harsher on independent studios than on big-budget Hollywood studios, giving more restrictive ratings to films made by smaller operations.
The MPAA is particularly uneven when it comes to sexuality. Sexual content that focuses on heterosexual male pleasure is more acceptable than anything centered on female pleasure, or LGBTQ sexuality. Movies with rape scenes will get an R while movies with cunnilingus will get an NC-17. And violence is totally fine.
A stricter MPAA rating can hurt a film’s profits by restricting younger viewers from seeing it. And if filmmakers know that queer films are less profitable, they’ll be less likely to make them.
And age-restricting LGBTQ content (like YouTube does) keeps queer youth from learning about themselves and understanding their own sexuality.
UPDATE, April 27: The Weinstein Company announced today that it has come to an agreement with the MPAA regarding the rating of 3 Generations. Initially slapped with an “R” rating, The Weinstein Company and the MPAA have settled on an official rating of PG-13 for “mature thematic content, some sexual references and language.”
(Header image via TWC)