American film board gives gay film Love Is Strange R-rating despite no sex or violence

The Motion Picture Association of America has been criticised for homophobia

The film classification body in the US has given a new movie about a retired gay couple an R-rating despite not featuring any sex, nudity or violence.

Love Is Strange has been classified R for its release in the US, meaning children aged under 17 must be accompanied by an adult to watch the film.

The rating was given by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for its use of bad language, but the decision to classify the film as R has been criticised by some as veiled homophobia.

Starring John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a gay couple who have been together for four decades, the film contains no scenes of nudity, drug taking and sex.

The only scene featuring the elderly men in bed together shows the two lead characters lying next to each other fully clothed.

In comparison, the R-rated Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which is released at the same time as Love Is Strange in the US, features repeated violence, graphic gore, nudity, sex and substance abuse.

Stephen Whitty, film reviewer at the New Jersey Star-Ledger, has criticised the MPAA over its decision to give Love Is Strange the same rating.

“Also opening is Love Is Strange. There is no nudity. There are no sexual situations. The drug or alcohol material mostly consists of adults having wine with dinner, or cocktails at a bar. There is no violence or gore,” he wrote.

He said that the MPAA had sometimes shown considerable leeway on language given its context, but added that even the “few strong words” in Love Is Strange were not spoken with violence.

Elsewhere, the film has been rated PG in Canada, 15A in Ireland and 15 in the UK.

The British Board of Film Classification sites “strong language” for giving Love Is Strange a 15 rating.

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