I love this article from the BBC about the BBFC’s top complaints of 2011 and 2012. The annual BBFC report reveals that for Black Swan: “some complainants had expected to see a film about ballet..”
… which was exactly what I thought at first too (a bit hypocritical of me to say that given my opinions further down this post) – until the film started to pick up the pace and turned into a batshit insane bonko bizzare thriller. Scared the crap out of me in places, and there were so many WTF moments that I can’t give it anything less than two thumbs up and my hearty recommendation. I love that film (my wife however, doesn’t love it so much).
What actually drew the complaints was a sex scene between two women.
“While the scene is visually discreet, narratively justified and within the 15 guidelines criteria, some correspondents felt it was pornographic in nature,” the report reads.
“That it was a sex scene between two women was an aggravating factor for some who argued that portrayals of homosexual activity should either be restricted to the 18 category, or not shown at all.
Black Swan received a 15 rating.
As for the above quote, those complaining that homosexual content should be restricted to an 18 rating (or not shown at all) are just as mad as the lead character in the film.
What I like about film (in general) is that not only should it just entertain, but also make you think about the story and the events that happen within it. Not everything is just black & white, right or wrong. I generally like my films to be complex, thought-provoking beasts and if they’re a bit controversial – all the better. Human nature is complex. Modern filmmaking generally reflects that (unless it’s an Adam Sandler movie – haha!).
Look – rightly or wrongly I’ve been watching films of all ratings for many years. I’ve watched 15 rated films before I was 15 and 18 rated films before I was 18. A lot of people have. I’ve always viewed ratings as general guidelines rather than something that should be enforced in law.
I’ve watched horror films, thrillers, sex comedies and all manner of stuff way before I was old enough to legally do so. But do you know what the scariest and most profound film that had scared the hell out of me during all of that time? Ghostbusters. Rated PG. Was a PG suitable? Perhaps it could have done with a 15, but I’m not going to complain. Ghostbusters actually made me think about how films are made and in particular, the visual effects. That I ended up working for a VFX facility many years later I would say thank you to the BBCFC (for the PG rating), Ivan Reitman and Columba Picture.
For 2012, the most complaints received for a film so far is Jane Goldman’s Hammer Horror adaptation of Woman in Black (which I’ve yet to see) regarding the 12A rating – presumably due to the strength of the horror/scares. The words “Hammer Horror” should offer up a clue, and the play and book both have a reputation for being scary – so why the hell do people think the film is going to be a stroll in the park with lots of cute things happening?
Do people really not bother with researching the stuff they’re going to see these days? I’m personally very proud of Jane, James (Watkins, director) and Susan (Hill) for this achievement. Nothing like a bit of notoriety to make a film worth watching.
A film’s rating should play some part in somebody’s decision as to whether to watch a film or not, but it should not be THE reason. In addition to the many newspapers, magazines and TV programs about films – the internet makes it so damn easy to look up film reviews, information and whatnot.
Mind you, if the bloody studios stopped pandering to the Facebook generation and stopped sticking everything up on that sodding social networking site and actually provided a proper web site with proper information about the film – putting up the facts, not just opinion, may help a bit.