The King's Speech is the true story of how England's King George VI overcame a devastating speech impediment, it's a wonderfully acted (by Colin Firth as the king, Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist, and Helena Bonham Carter as his wife, the
future Queen Mum) slice of history.
But the ever-clueless members of the MPAA ratings board are concerned about teenagers seeing this film --- because of one scene in which the king, in the course of his treatment, lets fly a string of swear
words. Because, of course, no teenager has ever heard the F-word.
So The King's Speech gets an R -- the same rating, as Saw 3D .
Tom Hooper, director of The King's Speech, spoke about his disappointment:
What I take away from that decision, is that violence and torture is OK, but bad language isn't. I can't think of a single film I've ever seen where the swear words had haunted me forever, the way a scene of violence
or torture has, yet the ratings board only worries about the bad language.
An MPAA spokesperson told the L.A. Times that the board is merely being consistent: We've made clear what our language guidelines are, and it's not
fair, in fact it would look arbitrary, if we threw it out for just one film.
But LAT Times' Patrick Goldstein points out that the guidelines are, indeed, arbitrary: More than one use of the F-word, for example, earns an automatic R, but
there's no rule about how many, say, gunshots or gallons of blood quality for a PG-13 or an R.