Blue Valentine screened here at the NO Film Fest the same week Welcome to the Rileys, Black Swan, and 127 Hours did. I did not end up seeing it due to a prior engagement the night it screened, and so I watched the controversy about its rating–should it be NC17 or R, and if the board said NC17 should they re-edit to get it downgraded to R?–with trepidation. After all, I’d blown potentially my only chance to see the “true” film. Thankfully the film’s producers successfully argued for an R rating without any adjustment of the film, and after watching it I really don’t understand what all the fuss was about. There was nothing that I saw which came even close to being NC17, so far from it, in fact, that I had to reconfirm with my companion that it had not, in fact, been edited. The whole situation created a lot of media buzz for the film, but what it should have been doing was highlighting the ridiculous double standards for violence and sexuality in our Puritanical rating system; 100 deaths an hour is no problem, but explicit, clearly non-exploitative sex is still Too Much. At least they got this one right in the end; this is not an NC-17 movie.
Elena Nola is the imperial movie critic and the colder half of the Ladies of Ice and Fire.