Two f-words are creating a slight problem for Philomena, a movie starring Judi Dench being released over Thanksgiving by the Weinstein Company. Pamela McClintock of The Hollywood Reporter reports that because of those "two non-sexual uses" of that word, the Classification and Ratings Administration has given the film an R rating, something that The Weinstein Company is now working to appeal.
The movie stars Judi Dench as the titular character, a woman who got pregnant out of wedlock as a teenager and was forced to give up the child for adoption by the Catholic Church. She then, many years later, goes on a hunt to find the child with a journalist played by Steve Coogan, who co-wrote the film. The Weinstein Company definitely has Oscar in its eye when it comes to the film, which it wants to brand as family-friendly material for the holiday season. According to one of McClintock's sources, it's not even Dench who utters the offending word. "It doesn't make sense why they didn't do it here. It's a wholesome movie that deserves to be seen by everybody," the source said.
As McClintock points out, the Weinstein Company has been combative when it comes to MPAA ratings. In 2010 the company fought the R rating attached to The King's Speech, also credited to a few f-words. Though the film was initially released with an R and the f-words in tact, just before the Oscars that year the MPAA announced that The Weinstein Company submitted an alternate version, which would be released with a PG-13. Nikki Finke at Deadline wrote at the time that TWC "was seeking the lower PG-13 film rating in response to educational and church groups who wanted to show the movie. Not to mention that, if this frontrunner for Best Motion Picture does win the Oscar on Sunday night, the Weinstein Co will be able to draw wider and bigger audiences into theaters and thus make more moolah."
Like The King's Speech, Philomena obviously is not meant for young children, but The Weinstein Company thinks it could have wide appeal. (In Britain, McClintock reports, it was given a 12 rating, meaning it was deemed appropriate for people ages 12 and older.) Anyway, watch to the end of this trailer to hear Dame Judi say the world "clitoris."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.