This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)

this film is not yet rated poster 2006 documentary
8.5 Overall Score

Interesting look at movies and who decides what you see in the theaters


Movie Info

Movie Name: This Film Is Not Yet Rated

Studio: IFC

Genre(s): Documentary

Release Date(s):  January 25, 2006 (Sundance)/September 1, 2006 (US)

MPAA Rating: Unrated

this film is not yet rated film ratings board sex scenes

What’s the difference?

Who decides what is acceptable and what should be seen by viewers of what age? What does an NC-17 rating mean to a movie versus receiving an R-Rating? What is worse, one hundred people gunned down in a movie or one scene of consensual sexual intercourse? Filmmaker Kirby Dick has a lot of questions, and he and his crew are out to find answers. The Motion Picture Association of America’s rating board is a big mystery and not revealed to the public, and any attempts to appeal a rating also is subject to a secretive review board. Hiring a private investigator named Becky Altringer, Kirby hopes to find some answers, but This Film Is Not Yet Rated also becomes the subject.

this film is not yet rated private investigator

The glamorous life of a PI

Directed by Kirby Dick, This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a movie documentary. The film premiered at Sundance and did receive a small theatrical release later in 2006.

Ratings have always been a big question mark to me. Even if you don’t get into the “who is making these decisions?” question, the decisions being made seem asinine due to what is in much lower rated movies and even more so if you look at pre-PG-13 movies within the ratings system (which generally aren’t re-rated unless there is some specific reason). Movies like Hair and Back to the Future (which did come out in post PG-13) would be rated R just for language today…and kids are exposed to much, much worse now at home with access to the internet.

this film is not yet rated kirby dick interview

Some documentary directors go to great lengths not to be involved…Kirby Dick is right in there!

The film approaches the movie smartly by looking at who benefits from ratings. If a film gets an NC-17 rating it is almost a death knell for the movie financially. It goes into less theaters and gets less promotion on TV…studios don’t want that and theaters don’t want that. The movie exposes a bigger association between theaters, studios, and distributors with the MPAA ratings board…which often is in direction contrast with many of the filmmakers’ goals.

The oddest thing about ratings is the secrecy. The organization works like a branch of the FBI or CIA. Even in courtrooms, you get a chance to hear the charges and face your accusers, but in the ratings board, you don’t even know what you did wrong, what can be done to fix it, or explain how it is relevant to the plot. It is a system that feels rigged from the start.

To uncover all of this, Kirby hires a private detective to find out who these people are. This means going through trash, stakeouts, and hidden cameras…something generally required if you are bringing down the mob. By placing already rated scenes within the movie (often unedited), he’s provoking a challenge from the board which he and the filmmakers of course get…and it doesn’t seem to go over well with the review board who doesn’t seem representative of society as it turns out.

this film is not yet rated appeals board

Still would love to see the faces of some of these people when they watched the film the first time

This Film Is Not Yet Rated is one of those movies where you wish you could have been at the screening. I can imagine a few jaws dropped when the rating board saw themselves on camera on the big screen as part of the investigation…followed by the use of some of the words banned by them from many movies. The “moral corruption of society” idea is always held up as the need for ratings and what ratings prevent, but where gunning downing as many people as you want just garners you a PG-13 or R, why does an intimate moment displaying body parts (that everyone has) automatically equal R or NC-17? It would be interesting to see a follow-up to This Film Is Not Yet Rated to see if anything has changed over the years and as movies become more and more online…This Film is Still Not Rated could be a fun follow-up.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response