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Shame, Starring Michael Fassbender, Has Been Slapped With An NC-17 Rating

Earlier today, while writing about Brad Pitt's casting in the new Steve McQueen film 12 Years A Slave, Sean pointed out that there was a possibility that Fox Searchlight might run into a problem with McQueen's most recent film, Shame. Due to its content - the film is about a sex addict living in Manhattan - many have speculated that the movie might get hit with the MPAA's harshest rating: NC17. Unfortunately, that situation as come to pass.

Box Office Mojo has received word regarding Shame's classification and the MPAA has deemed the movie unsuitable for anyone under the age of 17 (this means that anyone under that age, even with parent guidance, will not be allowed to buy a ticket or enter the theater). This presents a major problem for Fox Searchlight, as many of the nation's biggest theater chains, including AMC and Regal, will not carry NC-17 rated movies. There was a similar situation that came up last year with Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine. That situation was resolved when Weinstein Company president Harvey Weinstein argued in front of the MPAA personally and the rating was changed to an R.

The film revolves around a man named Brandon (Michael Fassbender) living in New York and trying to control his ferocious sexual appetite. His ability to control himself, however, is compromised when his sister (Carey Mulligan) arrives in the city and announces that she will be staying indefinitely. The movie is scheduled to be released on December 2nd.

Everyone familiar with Shame knew this was a distinct possibility, which is why Fox Searchlight was given applause when they picked up the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival. The question is where does the situation go from here? The studio could try to protest the rating without changing the movie; they could re-edit and re-submit it; or they could just let it be and let movie theaters decide if they want to show the movie or not. Given the incredible buzz surrounding Fassbender's performance and the film as a whole, one can only hope that they will make an exception.

Eric Eisenberg
Eric Eisenberg

NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.