The Motion Picture Association of America’s recalcitrance on the rating of the documentary film Bully has garnered a great deal of attention, as the R rating given to the movie would effectively prevent its been seen by exactly the kids who need to see it. The filmmakers felt, backed up by distributor the Weinstein Co., that it was important to show that, yes, kids bullying each other say “fuck” sometimes, and especially that the power of the film required showing, unexpurgated, a particularly brutal scene in which “fuck” was said three times—more than is allowed in a PG-13 movie. But a compromise has been reached, and starting next weekend a PG-13 version of the movie will be out:
The new cut of the Lee Hirsch film makes some concessions to the MPAA: It removes an obscenity that begins with the prefix “mother” in an early scene, along with two other quickly uttered F-words. Audio will be dropped out in all three instances.
But the new cut leaves intact a controversial scene on a school bus in which three F-words are used against a bullied child. [...]
Stephen Bruno, head of marketing for the Weinstein Co., told 24 Frames that “I can say with no stutter that we would have remained unrated if we had to change that scene.”
With the change, unaccompanied kids of any age will be able to see Bully, and, perhaps most importantly, the door is open for schools to show the movie in the future. More than half a million people had signed a Change.org petition calling for the rating to be changed.