Bully doc gets PG rating in Canada, R in U.S.
- March 14, 2012 3:59 PM |
- By Susan Noakes
Last week, B.C.'s film classification board gave the documentary Bully a PG rating, allowing it to be seen by all teens over 13. Alberta also rated the film PG and this week Ontario and Manitoba followed suit. The Manitoba Film Classification Board noted "use of expletives; brief non explicit violence; scenes may cause children brief anxiety/fear; disturbing/offensive scenes" but still saw no reason to give the film anything but a PG rating. Bully is the documentary directed by Lee Hirsch that follows five American teens over the course of their lives as they are bullied in school. It was created to focus attention on an epidemic of bullying that has led to some tragic deaths. But in the U.S., it earned an R rating, because of a string of expletives by some of the young thugs who do the bullying. Efforts by producer Harvey Weinstein, the Bully Project and individual teens to convince the MPAA to reconsider that R rating have yielded nothing - except perhaps publicity for the film. Hirsch welcomed the PG ratings in Canada but the MPAA has had nothing more to say about its decision. Canada's film rating agencies have always had greater tolerance for both profanity and sex, especially when it fits the context of the story being told. Each provincial agency is separate, but they are similar in outlook. The MPAA, with the critical voice of the Parents Television Council always ready to question its decisions, is careful to keep swearing from young ears, even from the ears of the teen bullies who might otherwise see themselves in this film. The U.S. ratings agency is not as stern about violence and a 2003 study found it has become more lenient over time. It's a cultural difference between Canada and the U.S. that's not apparent on the surface, but will mean many more teens in Canada can see a film that's got something to say about bullying in schools.
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