Friday, January 28, 2011

Sometimes People Curse. So F#*!@ing What?

Earlier this week, The King's Speech led the pack by receiving 12 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Director. This film seems to be the "traditional" Academy favorite—the story of someone overcoming adversity, an historical drama, accents, etc.—and certainly is one of the odds-on favorites to win Best Picture.

Although not my favorite movie of the year, I really enjoyed The King's Speech, especially the performances that Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter (all Oscar-nominated) gave. The story of King George VI (aka Bertie), who always was happy to stand in the shadow of his older brother, Edward VIII, especially since he had a horrible stutter. When his brother decides to abdicate the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, Bertie must overcome his stutter in order to provide his country the ruler they need in the shadow of World War II.

In one scene, Bertie lets loose with a great number of profanities, in order to demonstrate that when he gets angry, he doesn't stutter. This scene, and subsequent use of this type of language, led to the Motion Picture Academy of America's (MPAA's) decision to give the movie an R rating. While that was a somewhat questionable decision, so is The Weinstein Company's consideration of cutting some of the language so the film could get a PG-13 rating, thus making it "more accessible" at the box office.

I realize that The Weinstein Company is only looking out for the bottom line, but why dilute the essence of your character—the king in The King's Speech—just to make more money? The film has already made $58 million at the box office, which for a historical drama is pretty impressive. (Don't get me started on the MPAA's rating system or we'll be here all day.)

But who cares about art when the pursuit of money is underfoot, right?

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