At the end of February there was more than one petition circulating on the web asking the MPAA to give the anti-bullying film BULLY a PG-13 rating instead of the R rating it had been assigned. The film was released in March without any rating at all and is currently playing in select cities. However, it was announced Thursday that the Weinstein Co. had agreed to re-edit the film, losing some profanity in order to get the PG-13 rating director Lee Hirsch was hoping for.
The obscene language in question involves, not surprisingly, the F-word. The L.A. Times reports that during two instances where the word is used the audio will be dropped from the film. But, they say, “the new cut leaves intact a controversial scene on a school bus in which three F-words are used against a bullied child. The case now represents an exception to the MPAA’s rules; the group typically will impose an R rating on any film with more than two F-words.”
Reps from Weinstein say that if the MPAA had not made that exception, the film would have remained unrated, and Hirsch argues that scene is “absolutely relevant” to the film’s message.
As the L.A. Times notes, “The new rating means that children of any age can see the documentary without an adult …. The new rating also means that all theater chains — including Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest, which has a policy against playing unrated films — can show the movie.”
BULLY opens everywhere April 13.