Activists in “Pride” protest the R rating of “Flashdance.” (CBS Films)

To read Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday’s review of “Pride,” click here. 


Parents of America: I promise that your children are safe from “Pride.” No matter what the MPAA says.

In an effort to make itself even more irrelevant, the MPAA gave the British film, about a London group of gays and lesbians in 1984 who financially support a Welsh mining village during a strike, an R rating. Why? They aren’t saying, because they never say.

'Pride' premiered at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and was directed by Matthew Warchus. The film is set in mid-'80s Britain and follows a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the UK miners' strike. (CBS Films)


It was long rumored that you could use one F-word and still get your PG-13 rating; then “Philomena” got a PG-13 despite four F-bombings (maybe the Irish accent helped?). “World War Z” is PG-13. “The Dark Knight” is, too. So is “Man of Steel.” You can totally shoot zombies, blow up buildings and break a guy’s neck on screen and avoid the dreaded R. You can definitely show butts and sideboob and maybe a glance of an actual breast. But you can’t, it seems, be gay.

“Pride” has a positive message (unless you love Margaret Thatcher), zero violence and no sex — but gay characters are apparently so worrisome to those behind the MPAA curtain that depicting them, even in a G-rated manner, merits an R. If “Pride’s” gays and lesbians were anything but gay or lesbian, the filmmakers could throw in a butt or two and still get a PG-13, preferably if the butts belonged to women.

In England, where the British Board of Film Classification has to go into detail, “Pride” got a “15.” The board cited a scene in which sweet old ladies laugh over Playgirl-style magazines (the content of which you’d have to pause, zoom and enhance like you’re on “CSI” to see anything good. I’m sorry, “bad.”) and another where men in a club are decked out in “bondage-style” clothing. Good thing “The Fifth Element,” with Milla Jovovich running around in nothing but straps, got an R. Oh, wait — that was PG-13, too.

In “Pride” we have a film with some off-color language (but less than in “Philomena”) and some sexy clothing (but more actual cloth than in “The Fifth Element”) and tiny, blurry images of what might be penises, which are dirty, horrible things that no one under 17 should ever see.

I’ve been done with the MPAA for a long time, but with “Pride” it’s shown a whole new level of bigoted idiocy. The MPAA seems to believe that a gay character can’t appear on screen without terrifying audiences. Sorry, MPAA, but — to borrow an old turn of phrase — gay characters are here. They’re queer. Get used to it.


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