Weinstein Company to Challenge R Rating for Transgender Drama ‘3 Generations’

Weinstein Challenging Transgender Movie 3 Generations'
Courtesy of The Weinstein Co

The Weinstein Company is taking on the ratings board over “3 Generations.”

The drama about a transgender teenager earned an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for profanity and for sexual references. That means that moviegoers under the age of 17 can’t buy a ticket without a parent or guardian. The Weinstein Company is objecting, arguing that the film needs to be seen by high schoolers because it has a message of acceptance and inclusion that’s relevant at a time when transgender rights are being hotly debated. Transgender teens also have a higher suicide rates — 40% of transgender adults attempted to kill themselves, with 92% of those attempts coming before the age of 25.


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(Chris Ortman, MPAA spokesperson)

Chris Ortman, an MPAA spokesman, said the organization did not comment on the process for reviewing ratings decisions, but did say, “Any filmmaker who objects to the given rating can choose to go to the appeals board.”

It’s not the first time that the indie film company and founder Harvey Weinstein have battled with the MPAA. They’ve previously clashed over the R-ratings for “Philomena” and “The King’s Speech.” Weinstein was successful in contesting the NC-17 ratings for 1996’s “Clerks” and 2010’s “Blue Valentine,” and got “Bully,” a documentary about high school bullying, a PG-13 rating.

There’s an added benefit to these skirmishes. They get press for smaller films that may need the extra media attention at a time when multiplexes are dominated by superhero adventures and animated fare.  Originally entitled “About Ray,” The Weinstein Company pulled the film from the release schedule three days before it was slated to open on Sept. 15, 2015. The movie earned mixed notices when it screened at the Toronto Film Festival that same year.

“The fact that an R rating would prevent high school students from seeing this film would truly be a travesty,” said Weinstein. “The MPAA and I were able to come to an agreement on ‘Bully,’ and I am confident that we will be able to do so again.”

“3 Generations” follows Ray (Elle Fanning), a teenager who has struggled with the body assigned to him at birth and is determined to start transitioning. First, however, he must find his biological father in order to get permission for the medical procedure.

The studio said it has enlisted David Boies, a superstar attorney known for successfully arguing to overturn California’s gay marriage ban, to advise on their dissent. Boies also helped the company when it was having trouble getting Sunny Pawar, the 8-year-old star of “Lion,” permission to obtain the film’s U.S. premiere, and he assisted in the “Bully” ratings appeal.

Naomi Watts, who stars in the film as Ray’s mother Maggie, said: “This film is a beautiful and touching story about family and identity. It is important for teenagers to see it and the ‘R’ rating doesn’t reflect today’s society. ‘3 Generations’ doesn’t have a bad bone in its body, it’s an expression of love, acceptance, strength, and honesty — values that could not be more necessary right now.”

In a separate statement, Susan Sarandon, who stars in the film as Ray’s grandmother commented, “‘3 Generations’ is an important movie for everyone to see, especially transgender youth who are feeling isolated or fearful and their families. It’s ridiculous to have an R rating which would prevent this audience from seeing the film.”

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  1. Cat says:

    Their 5 instances of the word “fuck,” and a comment about “big dicks.”

  2. Zeke Teke says:

    if they use f-bombs more than once, R is automatic

  3. chloealexa says:

    Another ‘adult’ language lack of understanding. I was a teacher of film, and over the years listened to their vocabulary’s, in class and on site. Note the power of the word is with the listener, their education, and understanding. take the little four letter word F**k, it will surprise people from fifties to 90, yet just be an exclamatory word to the younger generations. Know your audience first.

  4. macd says:

    Oh, please, when will everyone wake up and realize that youngsters have no problem seeing an R-rated movie if it’s a movie they really want to see. Way back in 1978, I took my niece, 8, and my nephew, 13, to visit the set of a movie I was working on, “Manhattan”. They were warmly received by Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, who were delighted to sign my nephew’s petition to run for president of the junior high he was attending. When “Manhattan” was released early the next year, they naturally wanted to see it, and the R-rating was no problem. My nephew informed me that whenever he & his buddies wanted to see such a movie, they simply bought tickets to a PG-rated film at the local plex, waited until the usher wasn’t looking, and scurried into the theater showing the movie the MPAA didn’t want them to see (unless accompanied by an adult, and what kid wants to attend an adult movie with an adult, namely parents?). Incidentally, they loved “Manhattan” and my nephew won the presidential election, no doubt helped by his new pals, Diane and Woody!

  5. Phillip Ayling says:

    I wish I could believe that the Weinstein Company flag-waving about the ‘Importance’ of their film is the real basis for the concern over the film’s rating. It’s Box Office!… not importance to High Schoolers.

    In my opinion, Harvey Weinstein’s greed, narcissism and pretend liberalisim are the elements that define the operation of his company. He’ll ask Malia Obama to do a PSA for this movie if he thinks it will grow young Box Office and publicity.

  6. Mark says:

    Clerks was released in 1994, by the way,

  7. Mark says:

    Did they forget that people under 17 can see the film if they have an adult with them?

  8. messofanego says:

    Hope they get the rating to PG-13, seems like an important film to be seen by as many people as possible.

  9. Lily says:

    You don’t want it to be ” R” rated? Then why use profanity? Sexual preferences aside, the topic can be addressed with respect & class. Society may have changed, but it does not mean it is for the better.

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