Chalk it up to cultural differences.
The hit animated comedy “Sausage Party” received an R-rating in the United States, and for good reason. The film contains profanity, acts of extreme violence, and graphic sexuality, all involving food. However, it’s a different story overseas, where the film was given an 11 rating in Sweden.
According to The Guardian, who first noticed the rating, this means that viewers as young as seven could see it, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
For reference, here are the Swedish movie ratings guidelines:
Btl (short for Barntillåten): All ages accepted
7: Children under the age of 7, who accompanied by an 18+ adult, may attend
11: Children over the age of 7, who are accompanied by an adult, may attend a film recommended for children at age 11
15: No children under the age of 15 are admitted
Sweden’s National Media Council makes it clear on its website these ratings are not recommendations. What they are meant to do is reflect “whether the film is appropriate or suitable for a certain age group. Religious, political or moral attitudes are not taken into account when deciding the age ratings.”
This is where Sweden differs from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which rates films in the United States. As seen in the documentary “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” the ratings board has often been perceived as having many biases. They have often been accused of rating with moral standards, tending to give violence a pass and being tougher on sexuality as well as films with LGBT characters.
Recently, INSIDER spoke with “Sausage Party” directors Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan and the duo discussed what it was like having their film rated by the MPAA.
“The violence is ok. It’s the sex that was the problem,” Vernon told INSIDER.
Tiernan, who is Irish, noted that it is typically the other way around in most European countries.
“[The Irish are] way way way more comfortable and free and easy with sex scenes,” Tiernan said. “In North America you’ve got gory, gratuitous … it still gets a PG rating.”
Tiernan added that once they shaved the hair off a character’s private parts, they got the rating they wanted from the MPAA. While making the movie, they realised that some scenes were just too much to bring to life.
Other American directors have recently noted the MPAA’s sometimes confusing rating’s policy. “Don’t Think Twice” director Mike Birbiglia went viral recently after comparing the rating decisions for “Suicide Squad” and his film.
What best sums up the differences is looking at how both the MPAA and Sweden’s ratings board described “Sausage Party”:
Sweden: “The production contains elements of horror atmosphere, foods that are tortured and eaten, brutal fight between food and groceries in brutal fights with people. Although the film is animated elements are of such a nature that they are deemed to cause great concern and fear which could be detrimental to the welfare of children under 11 years.”
The tough rating by the MPAA makes some sense. But overall, they should really lighten up.
“Sausage Party” is now playing in theatres.
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