I was out of the country and therefore out of the loop for some time and even before that I didn’t give much clout to entertainment news. But I have recently caught wind of a push to make a rated R movie, Bully, into a PG-13 movie. Not because people are saying it was rated wrongfully high. But because people think that children need to see it.
Despite whatever powerful message that the movie might have, if the makers had intended for children to see it, they could have easily walked that line and brought it down to a PG-13 themselves. The rating actually lets a movie get away with a fair bit these days.
But a rating system is supposed to be an unbiased measure of what someone a certain age should be permitted to see. If parents want their kids to go see this movie, then they’re not prohibited from taking them. And its not as if other movies haven’t landed higher ratings (Fast and the Furious landed and R before editing, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back landed and NC-17) and edited their way under the wire to come up with a more family friendly rating.
From what I’ve read, the movie sounds R-rated and just because we might think it will shock kids straight on bullying doesn’t mean we can goad the film ratings board into making parents feel less guilty about letting their kids see something that won’t be any less rated-R. If kids need to see it, if parents want their children to see it, they’ve got that choice.If the movie had wanted to be shown in schools or shown for children, then they had the choice to make a film that could be PG-13.
Bully is based on the book Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge concerning the 1993 real-life murder of Bobby Kent. The book was written by Jim Schutze. Since books are a lot less policed than movies when it comes to ratings, maybe kids should just read the book?