Are age ratings getting too lenient?

(30 Posts)
guitarguy2112 Thu 05-May-16 19:44:06

Recently I've seen a few films where I've raised my eyebrows at the age rating, Deadpool (15) being a recent example. The rules on violence and swearing are becoming a bit too relaxed in my opinion and it's becoming harder to tell how suitable a film is for your child based on age rating alone.

It baffles me that The Force Awakens and The Dark Knight can share the same rating despite being very different in tone and content. TBH I don't see a problem with TDK being a restrictive '12' (just not a 12A) but Star Wars doesn't need such a strict rating.

Are there any films you've seen that you felt were rated too leniently (or too strictly)?

OddBoots Thu 05-May-16 19:49:42

What was in Deadpool that you thought unsuitable for a 15 year old? I've not seen it but I am guessing it is very violent as I don't think there could be much sweaaring that 15 year olds don't hear frequently. I know it was crude too but I thought the violence of it was meant to be of a cartoon nature.

Fpmd1710 Thu 05-May-16 20:46:06

I agree that film age ratings are maybe becoming more 'lenient' but I think it's only as society changes and what was once considered as too violent/sexual/use of language etc. is seen as more of a standard or expected nature in movies and TV now. It has always been this way though, I remember only being 9 when I watched The Exorcist (which was once banned) and being so disappointed because by 1999 it was probably no scarier than other films rated 15.
Also the other day I watched Robbie's 'Rock DJ' and noted it was played all the way through at just gone midday on TV, yet it was only played after watershed when it first released.

guitarguy2112 Thu 05-May-16 22:09:10

OddBoots It's not that I thought Deadpool should be an 18, rather that 15 seems a little too low, although I can see why they went with 15 because it's a comedy (light-hearted tone) out of just 15 and 18. It's too much for a 15, but not enough for an 18.

What I think they need to do is introduce a rating in between 15 and 18, like Ireland has with their 16 rating (Deadpool was rated 16 there), because the 15 rating does cover a very broad spectrum these days and there are some films which don't suit either category well.
Gone Girl was rated 18 only for short, individual scenes rather than for the film as a whole and is quite tame for an 18 cert - 16/17 yr old's would have no problem with it (that film was also rated 16 in Ireland instead of 15A or 18).
On the other hand, Deadpool is pushing the boundaries of a 15 cert and whilst it still fits within that rating, a slightly higher rating would give parents a better warning of stronger content. There are other 15 certificate films that are much tamer than it (e.g. The Shawshank Redemption), but you would expect them to be roughly the same because they both have the same age rating.

guitarguy2112 Thu 05-May-16 22:13:18

Fpmd1710 That's an interesting point seeing as Rock DJ is rated 15, so even nowadays, it could be against regulations to show it before 9 PM. Oh well grin

Bonnibell Thu 05-May-16 22:16:00

The first thing I said to Dp after we saw Deadpool is that I was surprised it was a 15.

Ricardian Thu 05-May-16 22:29:12

Pretty well anything that doesn't involve sexualised violence, sustained bloody realistic violence, imitable suicide or drug use or real sex will be passed at 15.

I too thought The Dark Knight was tough at 12A, and I was horrified at a woman who had a six year old in seeing it on release. But there's no appetite at all from the BBFC to return to the 12 certificate.

Ricardian Thu 05-May-16 22:31:52

If you want some solid examples of films historically at 18, but now at 15, The Wickerman (horror), Apocalypse Now (violence) and Don't Look Now (horror, sex and violence) are all now 15 certificate in cinematic form.

Which is fair enough. Every teenager should see all of them as part of their education, along with Bladerunner (15), Pulp Fiction (18, but would probably scrape a 15 today) and a few other key texts.

OddBoots Fri 06-May-16 07:10:08

I think possibly problems come in when parents (rightly) think that their children shouldn't be watching 18s but that a 15 should be fine for their 12 year old as it's only a few years.

NatashaRomanoff Fri 06-May-16 07:13:58

I'd forgotten 15 was even a rating that existed tbh. I'm late 20s and didn't think Deadpool showed anything that a 15 year old wouldn't have seen/said already if I'm honest. But then, I'm the parent who didn't even flinch when my child saw Spider-Man say 'holy shot' last weekend grin
Force awakens was boring shit.

I think in the past the censors were tougher on "horror" films - eg Alien and Aliens were originally X/18 certificates but are now 15s which feels about right. But they were laxer about kids' films - notoriously Star Wars and Watership Down were both U certificates which is just madness.

That's partly because the options were different. I can see that you might think that 15 is fine for Aliens, but that 14, which is what the old AA certificate meant, is too young.

Ricardian Fri 06-May-16 07:29:18

But they were laxer about kids' films - notoriously Star Wars and Watership Down were both U certificates which is just madness.

And almost all of the "classic" James Bond films were A (ie, PG) which is pretty dubious as well.

guitarguy2112 Fri 06-May-16 07:30:17

Ricardian - Those films are also rated 15 as home releases, not just at the cinema.

There are many similar examples that I can think of, including The Godfather 1 and 2, The Terminator, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining and the directors cut of Alien (the DVD/Blu-ray is still an 18 because the theatrical cut hasn't yet been resubmitted for a new rating).

Don't know if it's just me but I think that re-rating a film should be compulsory after a certain period of time - it's very odd seeing The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with an 18 rating for 'moderate violence' hmm

"A" was rather different from PG though. It was "5 or over with an adult, who should be aware that there may be content unsuitable for under 14s". So closer to a 12 than a PG really.

guitarguy2112 Fri 06-May-16 07:35:20

AintNobodyHereButUsKittens Back in 1979, they only had AA/14 and 18/X, so Alien got the X but was considered borderline AA/X (X was considered to be more marketable for a horror film). Even back then, they admitted that if they'd have had a 16 rating, Alien would've recieved it.

LetThereBeCupcakes Fri 06-May-16 07:37:01

I agree OP.

I took a friend's 10YO DD and 13YO DS to see the new Jungle Book (PG) a few weeks back. The 10 YO wanted to hold hands through the whole thing. The 13 YO said he liked it but thought it should have been a 12a (although didn't want me to tell his sister that!)

Having said that, I didn't research the film first as I stepped in last minute when their mum had to work, so maybe it would have been more obvious had I checked the reviews!

noblegiraffe Fri 06-May-16 07:42:26

I'm quite surprised at what makes a 12 these days. At tutor time one Christmas, the kids were wanting to watch Woman in Black which was a 12 - I said no way because I didn't want to see it! They then watched Lovely Bones (12) which I ended up switching off at a scene that showed flashes of a brutal murder of a child.

JamesTiberiusKirk Fri 06-May-16 14:20:53

Having just watched Deadpool, I think it has to be an issue of tone. The film is crammed with violence, swearing and a fair bit of sex, but the tone is very light and tongue in cheek. It's still pushing at the limits - I wouldn't want to have to explain the pegging scene to a 15 year old. If it has been a darker film then I think it would have deserved an 18

JemTheAngel Fri 06-May-16 14:28:43

It does depend on the child too, I think. I've got an 8 year old DS who loves films and has been very much influenced by his older sister in his taste. I'm happy for him to see 12As as long as I've checked the content. But a friend has a very sensitive 10 year old who he wouldn't take to a 12A.

I do find it weird that we seem more ok for children to be exposed to violence than sex though. It always seemed to me like they will pass quite a lot of violence as ok in a 12 and definitely in a 15, but sex is considered 18. Maybe its just me, but sex should surely be more acceptable to expose teens to than violence?

guitarguy2112 Fri 06-May-16 17:20:02

JemTheAngel - The BBFC do let sex into films rated 12 and 15, and at the latter rating, it can get quite graphic (e.g. Black Swan and Monster's Ball). The Duchess had a sex scene too and that was rated 12.

Nudity is allowed at all categories depending on the context. It's allowed at U and PG if it's natural nudity with no sexual context, such as someone getting out of the bath. Strong, sexualised nudity is restricted to 15 and 18.

MyCatIsTryingToKillMe Thu 19-May-16 16:23:07

As a fan of Marvel stuff I also went to see Deadpool. My 12yo DS said would I see if it was a young 15 and if so could he watch it when it was released on video. It was a brillaint film but I was very surprised that it got away with a 15, I really wouldn't want my son to be watching that at 15.

Saying that, I took my 8yoDS to see X men Apocalypse last night which is a 12A, generally it was fine but there was a very loud and unnecessary 'Fuck' in the middle of the film which was a bit disappointing. But I have noticed this with the Marvel films of late, they have to stick a swear word in, even when it is completely unnecessary for the film. It's not the worst thing in the world but does irritate me because it's almost like they are doing it just because they can IYKWIM?

I watched Billy Elliot last night and had forgotten how much swearing and sex references were in that. What was that rating?

Sadik Thu 19-May-16 16:35:30

I just find them really random, rather than lenient. So for example the documentary about Edward Snowden - CitizenFour - was a 15 rating. No sex, no violence, no nothing. I think he said 'fuck' once, in a non violent, stressed kind of way (as you might, in the circumstances grin) but plenty of 12 rated films as MyCat points out include the f-word.

At the other end of the scale, I've been to see 12 rated films with dd, and we've both spent half the film with our eyes shut.

Sadik Thu 19-May-16 16:36:59

On a practical note, I find commonsensemedia.org and also the IMDB info useful if I'm trying to decide whether a film will be ok for dd or not.

bruffin Thu 19-May-16 17:01:41

The last bond film I went to was a 12a which really wasnt suitable for the 6 year old behind me, who sat and talked all the way through it hmm

bruffin Thu 19-May-16 17:02:00

Billy Elliot was a 15 by the way

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