Ratings Appeals Board Overturns R Rating on 'Miral'

Sony Pictures Classics

The Weinstein Company will release the Julian Schnabel-directed film in select theaters on March 25.

In a major victory for filmmaker Julian Schnabel and producer Jon Kilik, the ratings appeals board has overturned the R-rating for Miral, about a 17-year-old Palestinian girl caught up in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Miral will now go out with a PG-13 rating. The Weinstein Co., which also was victorious in getting the NC-17 rating for Blue Valentine overturned, opens the film in select theaters on March 25.

Schnabel has always said he made the movie with the hope of sparking a dialogue among young people about Israeli/Palestinian relations, and that an R-rating would have precluded that very audience from seeing the film.

At a hearing in Los Angeles on Thursday morning, Schnabel and Kilik argued their case before the Classification and Ratings Administration's appeals board after all watching the movie together.

Miral had been rated R for "some violent content, including a sexual assault." In overturning the R-rating, the appeals board said Miral is now rated PG-13 for "thematic appeal, and some violent content inlcuding a sexual assault."

While Schnabel has reworked the beginning and end of the film for different reasons, he did not make any changes in order to secure the less-restrictive rating.

In an interview with THR, Schnabel said he was pleased with the appeals process. He said the board was very reasonable, and that out of 14 people, 12 voted in favor of lowering the rating.

"The movie is about peace and a young girl who navigates her way through war, and ends up a pacificst. American people dont need to protect their children from that information," said Schnabel.

Miral was penned by Palestinian journalist Rula Jabreal, based on her semi-autobiographical novel of the same name.

Miral, the story's heroine, is a young Palestinian girl who is raised in Hind Husseini's orphanage Dar El-Tifel in East Jerusalem. As she grows up, she gradually awakens to her people's struggle. Utlimately, she must choose a path of violence or take up "Mama" Hind's belief that education is the road to peace.

Miral also stars Omar Metwally (Munich, Rendition) and Hiam Abbass (The Visitor).

"To have lost the ability to share Miral with the generation most affected by the story's message would have been at odds with the meaning and purpose of our film," Kilik said.