Shame, Steve McQueen’s critically acclaimed drama, has been branded as NC-17 by the MPAA in the US due to its explicit sexual content. This rating will keep anyone under the age of 17 from viewing the film and it’s likely that some papers and TV outlets will refuse to run advertisements for it.
Although the NC-17 rating has doomed many films in the past, studio Fox Searchlight is optimistic about the rating.
The film tells the tale of Brandon (Michael Fassbender), a 30-something yuppie living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life and urges. After his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control.
Joint president Steve Gilula told the Hollywood Reporter “I think NC-17 is a badge of honour, not a scarlet letter… It’s not a film that everyone will take easily, but it certainly breaks through the clutter and is distinctive and original. It’s a game-changer.”
It seems that the NC-17 designation will be used to increase publicity for the film and Searchlight has no plans to make cuts or fight for a downgrade to an R rating. Perhaps it is time for this rating to become usable and not the automatic death of a film.