A deep, scathing and uncompromising look at the MPAA and its methods. A documentary filled with intrigue, humor and a distinct visual style.
OVERALL SCORE – 4.5/5
This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a 2006 documentary film directed by Kirby Dick. It has multiple filmmakers, ranging from Matt Stone of South Park fame to Kimberly Pierce of Boys Don’t Cry, voicing their opinions about the Motion Picture Association of America’s rating system. It also has a plot, where a private detective works with Kirby Dick to find out the actual people on the MPAA rating board and appeals panel.
This film is a truly mesmerizing account of how the film ratings system works. It is a showcase of the politicking which go on in the undercurrent of the organization which has a squeaky clean motto of “we are the here to keep our kids safe”. The film opens a window into the world where filmmakers are stifled by an organization with no accountability whatsoever. A layman with a small know how of how businesses work can clearly understand the difference between having a wide audience for a product as compared to a section of that audience completely cut off. It is public knowledge that films are a bigger business than ever before and with millions of dollars riding on each and every film. The difference a PG-13, R or NC-17 rating creates is massive and the documentary shows the effect that the rating system has on the overall product.
Keeping my personal opinion out of the review, the film shows a clear and honest depiction of the tribulations faced by filmmakers. It also shows the mostly illogical, unethical and ludicrous methods employed by the ratings board as a part of their process. Deep and heartfelt interviews given out by Matt Stone, Kimberly Pierce, Wayne Kramer, Kevin Smith etc., are a look into the psyche of men and women who are just trying to tell a story and get their art out into the world. The price one needs to pay to create art on-screen ,as per the interviews, is seemingly a high one.
On the flip side, an attempt to communicate with the ratings board seems to be a futile process. The interviews given by former MPAA employees and phone conversations with the members who were a working part of the MPAA at the time, paint a grim picture. The lack of accountability and the method by which it is achieved might seem ridiculous at best and downright criminal at worst. The methods the board uses to rate films, may seem appalling to any person who watches this film in its entirety.
There is always a case to made that films are indeed released into society and every parent has a right to protect their child from unsavory content. But one must ask, at what cost and to whom said organization is answerable too. We as people always have a way to question our own constitution. It is a fundamental right we posses where we have an opportunity to question our governments and our leaders. We also posses a rule book that dictates what is and isn’t acceptable in our day-to-day life to be good citizens of our countries. A question needs to be put forth here which asks, how does an organization with no rule book or code of conduct wield so much power and dictate so many terms and conditions to artists and most of all how does this organization have no oversight whatsoever.
The film stays true to its title and is indeed unrated. It is one the best instances of flipping the man off when one understands their basic rights and freedom are trampled upon.
OVERALL SCORE – 4.5/5
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