Review of This Film Is Not Yet Rated -- NC-17

05/23/2011 02:47 pm ET | Updated Sep 22, 2011
  • Melani Ward Writer | Divorce and Relationship Counselor and Coach

This super juicy and highly entertaining documentary investigates the people and workings of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) film ratings system, Hollywood's dirty little secret.

I have to admit the last time I spent this much time caring about the ratings of a movie was when I was trying to convince my parents the merits of seeing the latest R movie 30 years ago. But, in those days a scandal was taking your kid to see The Breakfast Club. Oh how dare Claire be so graphic as to put her luscious lipstick on no handed?!

These days, though, I have a four-year-old daughter, and while I'd like to protect and shelter her from ugliness until at least the moment I meet my maker, I am pretty sure that's not going to happen, so my interest in ratings has been piqued of late.

This documentary is a sneaky peek (seriously, there's spying and binoculars and trash diving) into the MPAA rating system, with the most attention focused on the dreaded NC-17 rating.
Here's the problem with NC-17 ratings -- you may get distribution, but studios won't release it so good luck getting the masses to see your blood, sweat and tears on the screen. Not to mention the fact that you have wiped out a huge segment of the population who couldn't see it even if a studio were to release it.

Spend any time investigating the content of PG-13, R and NC-17 movies and you will likely find yourself shaking your head at what constitutes NC-17:

Pubic hair? No Way.

Decapitation by chain saw? Bring it on.

Two homosexuals making out? Not in my backyard.

Two heterosexuals naked in the missionary position? Pull up a chair and get comfortable.

A teenage girl masturbating fully clothed? Oh no she didn't.

A 55 year old naked man in the shower masturbating? But of course.

The best part of this film is when director Kirby Dick hires a P.I. to find out the identities of the raters, a highly guarded secret.

The movie concludes when Kirby submits this film to the MPAA for a rating, and then when he receives a less than favorable rating, decides to appeal the process.

Throughout the film, former raters, a former chairman, first amendment attorneys and film critics weigh in on the credibility, merit and necessity of such a censorship committee.

This film will leave you not only thinking twice when you see those ratings flash up on the screen, but you'll likely start to question everything your kids watch even more, realizing that many of those who claim to be the experts on what's okay and what's not have no loyalty to you, but rather to the studios they favor.

4 Martinis. A must see for parents and anyone interested in film.