Critics Question Gay Romance's 'R' Rating

There's no sex or violence in Love Is Strange

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 23, 2014 3:31 PM CDT

(Newser) – You won't see any sex or violence in the new R-rated film Love Is Strange. What you will see is a love story between two men—which has critics wondering whether homophobia might explain the MPAA's rating decision. The movie is about a couple who must live apart after decades together. Yet critics have observed that it's received the same rating as the new Sin City movie, which contains violence, drugs, and nudity, and Jersey Shore Massacre, which is packed with gore, the Guardian notes.

"It is very hard to imagine that if it starred, say, Robert Duvall and Jane Fonda as a similar long-time couple suddenly facing homelessness, it would be lumped in with movies crammed full of queasily stylish sexism and sickening torture porn," writes Stephen Whitty in the Star-Ledger. The MPAA tells the Wrap: "The descriptor that accompanies the film's rating notes that it is rated R for language—as is any film that includes the same level of strong language, regardless of subject matter." But the MPAA has been known to show "considerable leeway on language" in other instances, Whitty notes.

This Jan. 18, 2014, file photo shows cast members John Lithgow, left, and Alfred Molina, right, posing at the premiere of the film Love is Strange.
This Jan. 18, 2014, file photo shows cast members John Lithgow, left, and Alfred Molina, right, posing at the premiere of the film "Love is Strange."   (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)
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