Movie rating

We saw “The King’s Speech” last night — great film! Afterward I read Roger Ebert’s review of it (he loved it) and was puzzled by his final comment:

Note: The R rating refers to Logue’s use of vulgarity. It is utterly inexplicable. This is an excellent film for teenagers.

“The King’s Speech” is rated R in the US? Seriously? (For my non-US readers: an R rating means no one under 17 is allowed without an accompanying parent or guardian.) Just for a few curse words sprinkled throughout, and one highly entertaining explosion of cussing from the King, whose choice of “bad” words seems positively quaint to a modern audience?

Here in Portugal, the rating is M/12, meaning anyone 12 or older can attend; no adults necessary. Clearly the Portuguese aren’t nearly so concerned about a little salty language sullying the pristine minds of their children.

I agree with Ebert — it’s an excellent film for teenagers, because it’s all about perseverance, determination, and overcoming fear. But US teens can’t see it without their parents, and everyone knows how much teenagers love tagging along with their parents to a movie. Oh well, they’ll no doubt sneak into a showing of the latest shoot-em-up and watch human bodies being blown apart instead.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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16 Responses to Movie rating

  1. M. says:

    We also have M/12 rating for this movie.
    Probably only because there is no dubbing, only subtitles 😀

  2. Izz says:

    here in sweden it’s got a non rating, meaning that anyone can see it no matter the age. A bit of bad language in just a small part of the movie is nothing.

  3. Ana_ñ says:

    Sarah Palin said ‘cojones’, a word as rude as fuck (I guess she does not know that). Her speeches must be rated R.

    Seriously, I couldn’t believe you. Apart from the idiocy of such rating,

    >(For my non-US readers: an R rating means no one under 17 is allowed without an accompanying parent or guardian.)

    Does it mean that it is legally forbidden? Not a recommendation for parents and teachers?

    • oregon expat says:

      Legally forbidden. Ticket clerks are required to refuse a ticket sale to any kid who has no adult with her, looks too young and can’t produce ID proving her age.

      I think many Americans would differ with you on defining ‘cojones’ to be as rude as ‘fuck.’ But they’re horrified at the use of the word ‘cock.’ There must be something about the plosive consonants that pushes certain words over the line into Unsayable (by polite society). On the other hand, Americans think ‘bugger’ is a great word, apparently without any cognitive dissonance at all.

      • Ana_ñ says:

        > Legally forbidden.
        Well, it is sad that most US adolescents are going to miss this good film.
        Out of curiosity, in order to compare, I looked up the rating of the film I saw this week. “True Grit” USA: PG-13. I can’t understand the US rating criteria.

        As for the words, I meant that ‘cojones’ is as rude as ‘joder’, both of them in Spanish. I see that it is different when used in English (less rude).

        • oregon expat says:

          But “True Grit” just involves gun violence and murder. That’s no big deal for American parents; their kids see that on TV every day. (Though I do have to agree with you — I don’t understand the rating system either.)

  4. Inge says:

    I find it amazing that the swearwords don’t appear to change.Back at school the swearword to use (to be in) changed at regular intervals. But it seems in movies,.. they always use the same words.. it’s kinda boring if i’m allowed to say so. I like some variety to be honest.

  5. Erik says:

    My goal will be at least one post per day. There, that is now officially in writing. You can hold my feet to the fire if I slack off without good reason.

    Yes I read your whole blog, mainly because I was curious about an American’s reaction to European culture. You also caught me with your nature stories. Mind you, you are in a very conservative country, living in Holland would realy blow your socks off. The fact that you took a picture of a billboard says it all. I lived in the USA for 5 years, the money was good but that was all. The reasons why you enjoy living there are the reasons I will never ever visit the USA again. Besides that you now have the TSA, over the top polical correctness,double standards, etc, etc. And last but not least I smoke, my (stupid) choice, but that should not make me a leper. I look forward to your next posts, I enjoyed reading your blog.

    • oregon expat says:

      Well, you must have been reading for a while! Welcome aboard.

      In defense of my country, there’s a lot of good in the USA, especially if you look at it as a collection of regions rather than one nation. The region I lived in, the Pacific Northwest, is a place I would gladly return to if circumstances (and a few laws) changed. And every nation has double standards, some more than others. But the TSA — I have no defense of that one! Or the Department of Homeland Security, for that matter. The fact that they don’t have jackboots in their agency logos is purely an oversight.

  6. Styx says:

    No rating either in France for this movie. A few bad words is not a real trouble here, even on TV. We are not in the habit to have a few bips over some swearing words

  7. JJ says:

    The rating system in the USA is very skewed. The tv show South Park is sooo much more appropriate for teenagers didn’t you know? I completely agree with the Portugese rating.

  8. hugmamma says:

    Also loved “King’s Speech.” Saw it twice. Great that film without violence and sex has gotten so many Oscar nominations. Hope it sweeps all.

    besides…really like Colin Firth…hugmamma. 🙂

  9. Ana_ñ says:

    It seems that US teens will have access to a “swearing-free version” (, a PG-13 with the problematic audio dipped.
    I consider the idea as “criminal” as the new version of Mark Twain’s novels without politically incorrect content that some demented teacher has edited (
    So, instead of teaching and explaining, let’s lie, falsify and conceal.

    • oregon expat says:

      We have a perfect word for this in English: bowdlerize. It comes from Dr. Thomas Bowdler, who published an “expurgated” version of Shakespeare that he considered more suitable for women and children. In his version of Hamlet, Ophelia died by accidental drowning — after all, it was so unseemly of her to have committed suicide.

      • Ana_ñ says:

        We know that expurgation very well here, right now. When Boabdil, last king of the moors, lost Granada to the Christians in 15th century, legend has it that he started to cry and his mother told him, “Thou dost weep like a woman for what thou couldst not defend as a man.” It is said that, looking at the Alhambra for the last time, he cried for the future of Granada, not for its past.
        Well, columnists state that Andalusian authorities have made a guide recommending something more feminist and non-violent, i.e. “Do not cry because there is no reason for it.” I couldn’t confirm it, but, if true, it’s enough to make me weep.

        Please, don’t say that you feel better now about the USA; no, we all feel worse now; idiocy all around the world.

        • oregon expat says:

          Awareness of gender discrimination and social assumptions — especially in a macho culture — does need to be taught. But not at the expense of accurate history! Besides, that first quote is so much more poetic.

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