Ba dum chi! I'll be here all day!
I've not seen an R-rated movie since... oh 2002. Why you ask? Well there's a couple of reason. One is religious but mainly, I'm a wuss puss. When a movie is rated R, it's indicating to me there is certain content that goes beyond my mental capacity to cope with. I also have a very vivid imagination and a capacity to recall images with deep clarity. Do I want blown up bodies floating around in my head as I try to get ready for bed or read an article for school? Not really. And many times, with the content of R movies, I feel I've left a piece of my soul in the theater. In general, they're just too much for me.
Of course, there are some "R categories" that I can handle more than others. Example: sex. I'm sensitive to watching people having sex on the big screen - as in I don't like it. Call me a prude but it makes me incredibly uncomfortable watching such a personal, intimate thing with a large group of people, on a 20 foot screen. Again, just a personal thing. I'm not suggesting to the wider world that sex is something to be ignored or shunned... just for me... I choose not to watch movies where sex might be a heavy, very visual, theme. I prefer to keep my sex exploration to personal experience and conversations. And truly, with sex themes it's not just the "R" movies but many PG-13's and network or cable television shows I purposely avoid when it's clear that will be the over-arching theme. Sex in the City? Never seen it. Don't care to. Don't want to. And that's just how I roll.
I also don't like the extremely crass or crude language. Not a fan. And by crass and crude - this goes well beyond swears. I have little angel ears and they bleed when their bubbles are popped. Then there's the violence thing. Honestly - depending on the context of the violence (see: Saving Private Ryan vs. Blood Diamond) sometimes my tender heart can handle it, particularly when attached to historical significance, and sometimes.... no no no thank you. Horror movies would fall into that category of "no likey that chopping of the head and eating brains" movies for me. I watched AMC's the Walking Dead this last round and I will tell you, that's probably the pinnacle of violence acceptance my soul can handle. Even then there was some clean-up (pun intended!).
So what am I saying? Well, I've not seen an R movie since 2002 for religious reasons sure - but mainly because I'm a tender soul who just doesn't "feel right" after watching such things as an "R" rating may indicate.
All that said...
Last night I saw the King's Speech. And it was phe-nom-en-al. And why did I feel I could handle (justify) this "R" versus say, Black Swan? Well, I had it on good authority that the "R" rating was attached to the 20 something times the King, attempting to overcome his speech impediment, says the F word. And might I say, they were tastefully placed and contextually justifiable "F's". Comparing this "R" with some other "R's" I've heard of or seen advertised, or for heavens sake some PG-13's I felt sucked out my eternal SOUL, I had to scoff at the public's reliance on the MPAA's ability (or inability) to pass a public moral judgement on what is "R", "PG-13", or "PG" material. That a movie with graphic sex scenes and human torture can receive the same rating as a movie like King's Speech with a handful of "contextual" F's is incredibly inconsistent. Perhaps it's yet one more commentary on the importance of individual judgement and the non-reliance on the "media" or "society" to inform the lay-person of acceptable content. Social Network (also loved) was by far and away more of an "R", in the connotation of what R means, than King's Speech. Then again, I AM a wuss puss and maybe there's someone out there that equates blown up bodies as just as graphic as 20 contextual F's. We all draw little moral circles around ourselves and live in such a way that makes us comfortable. R's - they mostly make me uncomfortable - but the King's Speech - inspiring and brilliant. Just one of those things...