I recently watched “12 Years a Slave.” It was violent, graphic and filled with language that may be argued as offensive. It was also incredibly moving, beautiful and transformative.
I was speaking with a friend about the movie and how some scenes made me turn away and wince. She asked me if I felt more informed and educated afterwards. My answer was a firm “yes.”
Being based on a true story, I felt so much empathy and respect for the man who experienced it and wrote the book it was based on. I feel like I view the world a little bit differently now.
As a rated R movie, many people haven’t watched it. I very much respect another person’s opinion in refraining from watching movies they may be uncomfortable with. I myself subscribe to a slightly different filter.
I choose the movies I view and own based on my personal level of what I find offensive. Violence and language don’t really bother me much, as long as it’s not gratuitous and without merit.
Nudity is another thing I filter, within reason. There is a fair amount of nudity in “12 Years a Slave,” and it is not unjustified and unwarranted. Nudity is used to highlight the inhumane nature in which slaves were treated. It was not purely for shock value or over-sexuality.
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” on the other hand uses full-frontal male nudity for humor. That’s just lazy humor. That kind of R-rated movie doesn’t make the cut for me.
Some of the most moving and insightful movies I own happen to be R-rated. “Argo,” “Almost Famous,” and “About Time,” just to name a few, are movies I can honestly say taught me to view the world and my life differently, and I learn something new from them each time I watch them. Yes, I own them all.
Not all R-rated movies are created equal. We should be educated consumers and know what we are getting into before we walk into the theater or pick up a movie from the corner Redbox.
Making a blanket statement about entertainment misses the point. I personally find some PG-13 movies more offensive or vulgar than some of the R-rated movies that I own and love.
The MPAA represents the six major movie making studios in Hollywood and oversees film ratings, lobbying and anti-piracy in the film industry. I personally don’t trust a group of strangers in Los Angeles to tell me what is or isn’t appropriate for me to view.
It’s not about drawing a line in the sand without knowing what goes on each side of this imaginary line. Research movies before you see them and don’t let a room of movie executives tell you what’s okay and what’s not okay.
Brittany is the Opinion Editor at UVU Review. She is a passionate little soul of a person. She is a senior at Utah Valley University and will graduate in spring 2014. With a background in addiction recovery and journalism, she is planning a career in non-profits. She can be found on Saturday nights hanging out with her cat Ringo Starr and watching Netflix. She probably tweets too much.