Calgary

Deadpool movie receives milder 14A rating in Alberta

The Calgary Eyeopener finds out why Alberta's movie rating classification team has given the movie Deadpool a 14A rating despite the violence, obscenity and sexually-explicit content that was rated R in the U.S. and 18A in Ontario.

Moviegoers must be 17 in U.S., 18 in Ontario due to violence, obscenity and sexually-explicit content

Deadpool features nudity, violence,and sexual content, but not in the duration, frequency or tone that would warrant an 18A rating, says Alberta's movie ratings manager. (Joe Lederer/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp/Associated Press)

Alberta's movie rating team has given the movie Deadpool a 14A rating despite the violence, obscenity and sexually-explicit content that got the film an R rating in the U.S. and an 18A rating in Ontario.

CBC's Calgary Eyeopener host David Gray interviewed Paul Pearson, manager of Alberta's four-person film classification team, to ask how they decided Deadpool was rated appropriate for 14-year-olds without parental guidance.

So what would it have taken for Deadpool to garner a stricter rating?

"Deadpool is by no means an easy 14A," Pearson said.

"It's got three advisories on it. It's got a number of content elements that we list on our website, no one thinks it's for smaller children, this is for kids in junior high."

As Pearson explained his team's decision, it was partly a matter of what wasn't in the movie.

"The sexual context is not explicit — infrequent portrayals of sexual activity, but there's no nudity during sexual activity and there's very little detail," he said.

As for the nudity, Pearson said it's mild relative to an 18A-rated film.

"There's very infrequent nudity. There is some, and we note this, both male and female, but it's very brief, it's not dwelled upon, and it's not overly gratuitous, it's not cruel …. this is a superhero comedy."

What 14A rating means in Alberta

Pearson said a 14A movie is generally "fine for your average high school student," but that "your average junior high student is going to need some mitigation, is going to have some questions, and it's not something that they should go and see on their own."

For comparison, Pearson listed other recent movies that were rated 14A in Alberta: Trainwreck, Kingsman, and Get Hard.  

Pearson said the way other jurisdictions rate movies does not influence Alberta's ratings, but that his team — part of Alberta Culture and Tourism — rates movies and trailers "based on our current understanding of community standards."

For every movie they rate, the ratings team posts a report on their website — including a spoiler-free plot synopsis —explaining its choice of rating.

Corrections

  • In an earlier version of this story, the rating for the film in the U.S. was NC-17 when it is actually R.
    Feb 18, 2016 3:18 PM MT

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