Fifty Shades of Gray narrowly avoids NC-17 rating, gets R instead

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Fifty Shades of Grey‘s producers were hoping to land a PG-13 rating for their upcoming Valentine’s Day date flick. Instead, they barely managed to avoid the dreaded NC-17 tag. Fifty Shades will be rated R–and a hard R at that, according to the decree handed down by the Motion Picture Association of America’s all-powerful Ratings Board. The producers promised to exclude any shots of Jamie Dornan’s wang, too, but the penis-free cut wasn’t light enough to satisfy the board’s every craving.

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Variety reports that Fifty Shades got its rating for “[its] strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity.” It’s the “some unusual behavior” part that has observers raising their eyebrows–what is that supposed to mean, anyway? But the Board, like the College Football Playoff selection committee, doesn’t have to explain the decisions it makes; it’s only got to make them. What the R rating means, practically speaking, is that the studio’s decision to push Fifty Shades toward a broad audience–since all the biggest fans of the massively popular books are probably going to buy tickets anyway–might not pay off, now that the potential audience is quite a bit smaller.

As Forbes notes, the Ratings Board folk have something of a history of awarding ratings based on awkward rationales. 1996’s tornado-fest Twister, for example, features no nudity and hardly any foul language at all, but was nonetheless rated PG-13 for “intense depiction of very bad weather.”

One wonders how Fifty Shades will stack up against Nymphomaniac, Lars von Trier’s four-hour sexcapade and the current gold standard for on-screen debauchery:


What do you think, moviegoers? Are you put off by the R rating, or even more intrigued? Does the promise of “graphic nudity” get you excited for the movie’s release?

(Photo credits: Screencaps via YouTube)

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