A letter signed by Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Oscar-winning producers is taking the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to task for giving the pro-life movie Unplanned an R-rating.
The movie rating service doled out the harsh metric citing “some disturbing, bloody images.” But the movie’s filmmakers fear the rating is motivated by politics. “We made a pro-life movie in a pro-choice town” said Chuck Konzelman, who along with Cary Solomon wrote and directed Unplanned.
Solomon excoriated Hollywood’s hypocrisy for the rating awarded the film. “The standard used to rate our movie is being applied inconsistently as it relates to bloody images on-screen,” he told Breitbart News. “In fact, Happy Death Day 2U (a “slasher” film with several violent murder scenes) has far more blood and gore than our film, and it received a PG-13 rating.”
Producers of Unplanned also fear that the harsh rating will cause many Christians who eschew R-rated films to skip the movie despite that its content doesn’t rate the restrictive rating.
Now, an open letter to the film industry has been penned that is signed by a number of conservative activists, but also two Oscar-winning producers. All feel that Unplanned was targeted because of its religious message and unfairly given the R rating.
The open letter insists that the movie qualifies for a less-restrictive rating and even PG-13 movies “are too often filled with all manner of evil, from swearing to depictions of gratuitous sexual scenes, murder, you name it.”
“Is it a group of unelected parents from Beverly Hills who meet together, watch a film and vote, and ultimately decide for you what is appropriate for your family and what’s not?” the letter adds. “Let’s not project the values of the 90210 zip code upon the rest of America.”
“The letter is signed by 29 influential people who were not involved with the production or distribution of the film, including Gray Frederickson, who won an Oscar for co-producing The Godfather Part II, and Gerald Molen, who won an Academy Award for co-producing Schindler’s Lis,” according to Hollywood Reporter.
Other signers include actor Kevin Sorbo, actor and singer Pat Boone, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s niece, Alveda King.
The MPAA responded to the accusations that it acted along political lines instead of issuing a good faith rating of the movie:
For more than 50 years, the Classification and Rating Administration (CARA), the board of parents that assigns MPAA film ratings, has provided advance information to American parents about the level of content in films to help them make viewing choices for their children. The purpose of the ratings is to help inform and guide parents, not to prescribe social policy. Filmmakers are free to put whatever content they want into their films. No one rating defines whether a film is good or bad, it simply indicates the level of content, and parents are free to choose what content is suitable for their families.
The rating board considers all aspects of a film to determine its suitability for children, including themes, language, depictions of violence, nudity, sensuality, depictions of sexual activity, smoking, adult activities (i.e., activities that adults, but not minors, may engage in legally), and drug use. A film is never rated more than PG-13 for theme alone. It is graphic depictions or graphic descriptions that may lead a film to receive an R or NC-17 rating.
This film received an R rating for ‘some disturbing/bloody images.’ The filmmakers did not make use of the rating appeal process.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.