'Blue Valentine' faces an NC-17 rating

The Weinstein Co. may choose to distribute the film unrated.

The Weinstein Co.'s marital drama "Blue Valentine" is facing the possibility of an NC-17 rating, which would put the film off limits to moviegoers under the age of 18.

Since the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration Board has not yet officially issued the rating, it would not comment on its decision, which was first reported Friday by Deadline. The Weinstein Co. did not respond to repeated calls for comment.

Directed by Derek Cianfrance, the film stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple whose marriage is disintegrating. The Weinstein Co. acquired the film after it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January and screened it, in a slightly trimmed-down version, at both the Cannes and Toronto film festivals.

If TWC decides not to accept the NC-17, it could distribute the film, which is scheduled to be released Dec. 31, unrated since TWC is not an MPAA signatory. But that could create problems when it then tries to put the film through its various ancillary output deals.

It could also decide to go through the rating board's appeals process.

In August, TWC used the appeals process to ask that the R-rating for Amir Bar Lev's documentary "The Tillman Story" be knocked down to a PG-13, but it lost that appeal.

An NC-17 could also complicate the movie's awards season bids for Gosling and Williams to be considered in the acting categories.

"Henry and June," which became the first film to be rated NC-17, when the rating was introduced in 1990, is also the only NC-17-rated film to score an Oscar nomination -- it received a nomination for best cinematography.

However, several other movies that have had a brush with the NC-17 have earned Oscar attention.

"Boys Don't Cry" faced an NC-17 rating in 1999, but was edited to obtain an R, and it then went on to secure two Oscar noms and a win for Hilary Swank as best actress.

"Requiem for a Dream," released in 2000, was originally rated NC-17, but distributor Artisan chose to release it without a rating, and the movie earned a best actress nom for Ellen Burstyn.

The only Oscar winner to sport an adults-only rating is 1969's "Midnight Cowboy," which originally was released with an X-rating, the precursor of the current NC-17, by distributor United Artists. However, for a subsequent re-release, it was submitted to the rating board, which awarded it an R.

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