I'm coming on a little late to this news on December release Blue Valentine, but seeing as the film's first trailer has just been released, I figure I can compound the two announcements. Once again, the MPAA has come out in controversial fashion when they handed the film by first-time director Derek Cianfrance an NC-17 rating. Many who've been able to see the film at festivals earlier this year have all decried this decision as erroneous and unfortunate (most of the wrath from the MPAA seems to be coming from a scene where the two characters go down on each other). If anything, it's a box office kiss of death, but that isn't a particularly big deal since I'm not sure how big the audience for this film will be to begin with. But combine that with its misguided December 31st release date, it seems like this modestly-scaled romance, with two incredibly talented young actors in Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, might get completely swallowed by the Christmas glut of more showier films like True Grit and The Fighter. More then anything, it complicates any possible path toward an Academy Award. Seeing as Cianfrance doesn't seem compelled to appeal or cut the film for a more amicable 'R' rating, I guess gold statues isn't the first thing on his mind. Which is fine, but I would have enjoyed the Oscar season a lot more, I feel, if Blue Valentine was going to be a big part of it. Well, whatever happens, the film will come out at the end of December.
**Update (10/14/10)**: The film's distributor, The Weinstein Company, has decided to appeal this rating. Here's Harvey Weinstein's statement: "We want to express our deepest gratitude to our colleagues in the industry and in the media for their recent outpouring of support for Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine after the film surprisingly received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. We are taking every possible step to contest the MPAA’s decision. We respect the work of the MPAA and we hope, after having a chance to sit down with them, they will see that our appeal is reasonable, and the film, which is an honest and personal portrait of a relationship, would be significantly harmed by such a rating."
Here's the first trailer of Blue Valentine: